General News of Friday, 5 April 2013
Source: Daily Graphic
A total of GH¢47 million has been paid by the government as ex gratia to the 230 Members of Parliament (MPs) who served in the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
Out of the amount, the MPs who retained their membership of the House after the December 7, 2012 elections received GH¢276,000 each, while those who lost their seats were paid GH¢311,000 each.
Highly placed sources in Parliament told the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday that the amount paid to the MPs who were no longer in Parliament included a resettlement grant.
More than 90 MPs who served in the Fifth Parliament are not members of the present Parliament.
One of the beneficiary MPs who is serving in the Sixth Parliament explained that the ex gratia was not paid in bulk but in three tranches.
The first tranche was paid in January this year, the second in February, while the final tranche was paid last month.
According to a source, IOUs which were taken by some MPs just after the December 7, 2012 elections were deducted from the ex gratia.
In addition, those who had not completed the payment of their car loans also had their debts deducted.
The Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Mr Jones Kugblenu, would, however, not comment on the issue, saying he was not privy to it, since it had been discussed behind closed doors.
Members of Parliament are part of Article 71 office holders whose salaries and emoluments are determined by committees set up by the President.
Members of Parliament who served in the Fifth Parliament are lucky to have received their ex gratia without any impediment from the Executive.
The payment of ex gratia to MPs who served in the Fourth Parliament generated a lot of public discussion and outcry.
When he took office in 2009, the late President John Evans Atta Mills ordered a freeze on the payment of the benefit, following public outcry over the quantum of ex gratia.
The action followed arguments over whether the document based on which the ex gratia was to be paid received proper parliamentary and Executive approval.
The MPs were, however, paid what was due them, with each of them receiving an average of GH¢80,000.
The payment of ex gratia to MPs who served in the Fifth Parliament was based on the recommendations of the Professor Ewura Ama Addy Committee which had been set up by the late President Mills.