Mahama to tackle ex-gratia payments’ if…

Former President John Mahama has hinted of reviewing the 1992 Constitution to tackle ex-gratia payments’ in the next National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

He assured the citizenry that the next NDC government would deal with issues concerning the payment of ex-gratia and insisted that since the 1992 Constitution was the supreme law of the country, it needed to be amended to deal with the entitlement of Article 71 officer holders.

According to former President Mahama, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government had derailed democratic gains made in the country and maintained that “if the NDC is given the nod in 2024, the review processes of the Constitution which commenced during the period of late President Professor Atta Mills would continue”.

He pointed out that the next NDC government must commit to the implementation of the review of the 1992 Constitution, which was begun by the late President Mills of blessed memory, the review should among others aim at reforming the Judiciary and tackle head-on issues on ex-gratia payments and other Issues of Article 71 emoluments.

In recent years, arguments have surfaced about the number of officials who benefit from ex gratia payments and whether there is need for the payments.

The Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV, a former member of the Council of State, an advisory committee to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo between 2017 and 2020, refunded monies paid to him as ex-gratia and many people have criticised public office holders as to whether they deserve the monies paid to them.

While refunding the money he stated that he returned the ex gratia money not because he did not need money, at that particular time, he needed money to meet various family obligations but he believed the money was not deserved and was inappropriate for what he reiterated was essentially part-time work.

However, in 2017, Elikplim Agbemava, a legal practitioner went to the Supreme Court seeking clarification on some of the benefits enjoyed by the Article 71 officeholders who wanted presidential staffers who benefit from salaries, allowances, and privileges like Article 71 officeholders, to be stripped of such gratuities, claiming it “is inconsistent with Article 71 and therefore unconstitutional”.

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