Ghana needs former Presidents’ Bill- Legal practitioner

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    Nii Kpakpo Samoa Addo, a private legal practitioner wants the government to present a former Presidents’ Bill to Parliament spelling out their benefits and privileges including their families.

    The private legal practitioner says the bill if introduced must capture all privileges and benefits of past presidents and their spouses.

    “What I think we should do moving forward is to have a bill in Parliament – a former Presidents’ Bill – and let us outline the benefits and the privileges and what they are entitled to. And if we believe we should have an extension of these benefits to their spouses and families, let’s us do it and capture it in the bill,” Addo said on The Forum, Asaase Radio’s weekend current analysis show.

    He added: “Other countries have done it like the US; how much the US president would be paid and for how long he would be paid are all clearly spelt out in law. Personally, I have always been against things done in the dark.”

    Public uproar

    Addo’s assertions follow recent public uproar against a presidential emolument committee’s recommendations for the first and second ladies to have their allowances regularised. Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia, the First and Second Ladies respectively, have both said they are refunding all allowances paid to them since 2017 and that neither will they accept any monthly remuneration.

    However, Addo further called for legislations to regulate the financial systems of non-governmental organisations set up by the first and second ladies as well as an auditing system of their funds by state agencies.

    “We need to have legislations that speak to financial arrangements and auditing of donations by public sector bodies to these offices. When our first ladies set up NGOs, are they regulated, do we have rules and regulations to guide them?” he asked.

    Addo added: “We have state institutions that give huge sums of money as corporate social responsibility to some of these NGOs. We have GHC120,000 from GNPC [to the First Lady], and we don’t have regulations to check the purposes these state monies are used for.”

    Disagreement

    Meanwhile, the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has described the decision by the First Lady to refund all monies paid to her in allowances since 2017, following recommendations made by the presidential committee on emoluments for Article 71 office-holders, as a mark of ingratitude.

    “I have sighted a letter purporting to be from the Office of the First Lady angrily claiming it is going to refund all allowances paid the first lady since 2017 because Ghanaians are talking too much about the recent recommendations by the Prof Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee to pay first/second ladies the same salaries as cabinet ministers,” Mensah Thompson, the ASEPA executive director, posted on Facebook.

    He added: “First of all, apart from the tone of the letter being unnecessarily arrogant, this smacks a huge sense [sic] of INGRATITUDE from the first lady. This letter goes a long [way] to show how unaccommodating the first lady is to public criticisms.”