Kwabena Agyepong, a flagbearer hopeful of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has advocated the scrapping of payment of ex-gratia every four years to Article 71 officeholders immediately.
He explained that the country did not have the financial resources to support such payments since Members of Parliament (MPs) could be given stipends after serving their terms in office but it should not be in the current lump sum even for those who return to Parliament.
Mr Agyepong cited the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu Majority Leader and Kobina Tahir Hammond, MP for Adansi Asokwa Constituency in the Ashanti Region as people who had benefited largely from payment of ex-gratia over the years due to their long stay in the legislature.
“Such payments are not right on any moral standing and it should halt with immediate effect because ex-gratia should be like parachute payment, when you have served your country like a legislature it is a difficult assignment, maybe they can take their vehicles along but not after every four years.
“I never understood if you are coming back it cannot be ex-gratia, I realise the Speaker, Majority Leader and Mr Hammond have benefitted a lot, that is not right on any moral standing, we should stop it immediately because we do not have the money as a country,” Mr Agyepong contended.
Former President Mahama speaking to a gathering of lawyers of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) pledged to implement recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee as well as review ex-gratia payments in the next NDC administration.
“The next NDC government must commit to implementation of the review of the 1992 Constitution, which was begun by the late President Atta Mills which should aim at reforming the Judiciary and tackle head-on issues on ex-gratia payments and other issues of Article 71 emoluments,” he stressed.