Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has revealed that he’s yet to be paid his ex-gratia which was approved by Parliament ten years after he exited office.
The 80-year-old former Leader whose tenure in office saw huge economic development in the country in an interview with Joy FM stated that he’s yet to push for the payment almost two years after his own New Patriotic Party (NPP) assumed power.
“…the so-called ex gratia? I haven’t been paid ex gratia. You’ll remember that Mrs Chinnery Hesse’s report suggested ex gratia and in fact, it was approved by Parliament even though it was the last days but the administration that took over from me pretended there had not been any such approval. Later, some members of the administration, I’ll cite Mr. Bagbin when he was being vetted in Parliament was put that question and he said it was approved. If it was approved by Parliament then automatically there shouldn’t have been any question that I should have been paid, but somehow [may he rest in peace] Prof. Mills appointed Yamson Committee and later changed to Prof. Ewurama Addy Committee so nothing was paid regularly as ex gratia but I don’t worry.”
In January 2010, late President John Evans Atta Mills officially announced that his administration had finally paid former President John Agyekum Kufuor and Members of Parliament in the previous legislature, their gratuity or ex-gratia.
Answering questions from journalists at the Castle Gardens, Osu, on the protracted and controversial issue, President Mills indicated that the payments were made based on the recommendations of the Ishmael Yamson Committee, which he set up to review the Chinery-Hesse Committee report on ex-gratia for public office holders under Article 71 of the Constitution during the previous administration.
However, spokesperson for former President Kufuor, Frank Agyekum, denied any payment of gratuity to his boss.
He explained that last December, an accountant from the Parliament House brought a cheque for an amount of GH¢97,000 issued in the name of President Kufuor to the former President’s residence.
According to him, when former President Kufuor asked what the amount was meant for, the accountant could not explain but just said it was his ex-gratia.
The former President, he added, inquired if it was payment based on the Chinery-Hesse, Greenstreet or Ishmael Yamson reports, as the gratuity was a package comprising not only cash but offices, staff payment and vehicles.
Mr. Agyekum said further checks from the Chief of Staff, John Martey Newman, to clarify the issue, were unsuccessful as he never got back to former President Kufuor to explain what the cheque was meant for.
“The former President, therefore, asked the accountant to return the cheque as it was not accompanied by any explanatory letter, indicating what the payment was meant for,” Mr. Agyekum disclosed, further confirming that former President Kufuor had actually not received any gratuity, 12 long months after leaving office.
President Mills set up the Yamson Committee following agitations by politically contrived groups like the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), led by agitator-general, Kwesi Pratt, against conventional wisdom to slash the ex-gratia of the MPs who served in the Fourth Parliament between 2005 and January 6, 2009, and former President Kufuor, as contained in the Chinery-Hesse Committee report and approved by the executive and legislature respectively.
President Mills’ action was described by some political analysts as populist and without legal foundation.