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Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ex-Gratia Should Be Scrapped - Kwesi Pratt Jnr.

Kwesi Pratt Jnr., says the practice of paying gratuity or Ex-Gratia awards and emoluments to ex-Presidents and public office holders under Article 71 of the country’s 1992 constitution should be discontinued with immediate effect.

The Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper believes the package is useless and irrelevant “in our current economic state.”

Contributing to a panel discussion on Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo”, the outspoken social commentator said the package in addition to retirement benefits of salary until death, was "a wicked idea and would not serve the larger interest of the public nor does it make economic sense."

He was re-echoing similar sentiments expressed by another panelist on "Kokrokoo", aspiring National Organiser of the New Patriotic Party, John Boadu, who had earlier called for a cessation of the practice.

President Mills on Thursday disclosed that the Ex-Gratia due to Ex-President Kufuor had been paid. According to him, 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 government.

But, Kwasi Pratt Jnr, who is also a leading member of the Committee for Joint Action (CJA), a political pressure group, says it is unnecessary.

“Why should someone be allocated 6 chauffeur driven cars, 3 houses (including an office), a pension allowance, twice a year travel with the family to any place of their choice at the expense of the taxpayer?...It is pure greediness…Checks conducted indicate that the President takes home a little over GH¢5,000.00 a month in addition to his ex-gratia. Why?” he queried.

Mr. Pratt also lambasted Members of Parliament (MPs), accusing them of being egoistical in their demand for gratuity. He averred that if Parliamentarians really sympathized with and respected Ghanaians, they would have stopped taking such “huge ex-gratia.”

“They never thought of their constituencies but rather had more interest in their ex-gratia being paid….Hon. E.T. Mensah, MP for Ningo-Prampram for instance had been in Parliament since 1992…he has received so many ex-gratia which has flourished his personal life, yet his constituency lacks basic infrastructure….,” he alleged.

“I tell you, if a second look is not taken at this ex-gratia package, soon all Ghanaians would take to politics, clamouring for positions….politics will then become messier,” he stated.

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