Former President John Mahama has said he would not return even a single pesewa of the ex-gratia entitlements paid him because he has already spent every bit of it even to the very last dime.
Mr. Mahama made the statement in respond to calls on him to return all his ex-gratia payments if he indeed intends to cancel the payment of ex-gratia to Article 71 office holders if he wins the 2024 presidential elections.
“I say I would cancel ex-gratia. If you would cancel it, you too say, if we come we would cancel it, But why are you insulting me and saying I should refund mine? Would you cancel it or you won’t cancel it? Tell the people of Ghana. But you are saying oh, bring yours first. Why ? I have spent the money already. And now I am a pensioner. Where am I going to get that money to come and pay back? I am unemployed and you say bring yours to show that you have good faith.
“I have no source of income. You say I should not work. They say Presidents should not hold office of profit. So you gave it to me and I spent it then you come and say I should refund it. Where am I going to refund it from? I mean it is just Fargin”, John Mahama noted Sunday night in an address at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Professional Forum Dinner and Awards Night in Accra.
John Mahama continued: “They do not understand the gravity of the situation. I do think that for those of them who speak for the NPP, they do not understand the gravity of the situation. But it is good for our party. We are going into primaries but as I said I thank you for your support.
“It should send a certain signal to the whole of Ghana that we are four candidates who picked the forms. Anytime one candidate speaks, they hold a press conference and respond. And everybody is struggling and responding and yet they say that candidate you should not bring him because he is the worse candidate we have beaten him before.
“But when all the other candidate speak, in Hausa, they say ‘Shurum’, quiet. It shows that the game is exciting and as long as it is exciting, I would play the game.”, the former President noted.
On March , John Mahama, during his official campaign launch for his 2024 flag bearer bid on the ticket of the NDC explained his intentions to scrap the payments of ex-gratia to government officials. And also reduce his number of Ministers to a maximum of 60.
“I will form a government of less than sixty (60) ministers and deputy ministers of state. I will initiate and undertake the most far-reaching constitutional, political and governance reforms under the fourth republic aimed at restoring confidence in our democracy and governance systems while making life easier and better for our people. In response to the concerns and calls from many of you, I will initiate and undertake the most far-reaching constitutional, political and governance reforms aimed at restoring confidence in our democracy.
“We will continue and bring to conclusion the constitution review process began by President Atta Mills including a review of the controversial article 71 to reduce the number of office holders, and remove the disparities in privileges and emoluments vis a vis the public and civil service. The payment of ex-gratia to members of the executive under Article 71 will be scrapped.
“The necessary constitutional steps to abolish that payment will start in earnest in 2025. I will also begin the process to persuade other arms of government to accept same. Issues pertaining to the excessive powers of the President, proper separation of powers, strengthening of parliament, restoring true independence to the judiciary, independent and quasi-independent state institutions and depoliticizing them will take centre stage”.
Many of John Mahama’s critics were quick to call on him to return all the ex-gratia payments he had benefited in indeed he has intentions to scrap such payments.