Trust me, the passing by the Emoluments Committee for backdated salaries to be paid to Rebecca Akuffo-Addo and Samira Bawumia, may have not been even half controversial, than its rejection and refund of allowances, something Mahama alleged that, "there was potential double payments," as they have received the allowances monthly since 2017, and only refunded it, when the fury of Ghanaians became too much to bear and the salary was also on its way.
Fast forward, news went viral late yesterday afternoon about this refund, as First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo had controversially returned to the state, an amount of GH¢899,097.84 (Eight Hundred and Ninety Nine Thousand and Ninety Seven cedis, Eighty Four pesewas), being the full refund of allowances paid her since 7th January, 2017. She issued a Consolidated Bank Ghana Limited cheque with number 000002 for the amount.
Samira Bawumia, who was consistently acting in same manner as the First Lady, would also do same later on, with even NDC people, asking that GNPC's sponsorship of Rebecca's Foundation, to also refund that as well. This sparked a rebuttal, which saw NPP fans, also asking Lordina Mahama, to also refund allowances.
Well, fast forward in a post by NDC's Social media personality Dzifa Gunu with over 64,675 individual followers, he raises serious questions, that begs the attention of every discerning reader and this has gotten social media buzzing. He writes that:
"Rebecca and Samira don't do any other work that brings them income so how did they come by 800+ thousands sitting in their accounts In the interest of accountability can we audit their bank accounts?"
Commentary following his viral post, have included the following:
Opoku Nti Ernest writes "Has Lordina returned the monies paid her?"
Azziz Jah Guidance writes "You're very right bro, their bank accounts actually needed to be audited for clarity sake, until then our minds will never rest on this share thievery on the poor taxpayer. This is sad senior
Mark Nkansah writes "Why should we do that when we couldn't audit mzbel and Tracey Boakye accounts?"
Foster Bey writes "Which politician's account has ever been audited in Ghana? Even your assets mpo, you never declare...both ndc and npp. Make we hear..."
Amadu Hamdawei writes "We can call the auditor General to audit their accounts but then Mama Lordina and co. should also return the monies paid them as allowances."
Alhassan Andani Savelugu writes "Accounting to the people"
Walcott Kwabena Asante writes "Ndc robot"
Ahmed Abujajah writes "This can't win power still a long way to go"
PK Tweneboah writes "But Dzifa Gunu the 800+ is the money that was paid to them as allowance, so what’s the deal in returning the exact amount that was paid to her/them?? Stop this mild assertion!!! E don fall inside waters."
Godfred Aliwo writes "Sure bro, that probe is very necessary!"
Adade Poku Rozay writes "They should even paid interest"
Snr Fred Kumi writes "Slay queens sef were getting allowances under JM yet he cancelled teachers and nurses allowances"
Erik Nkansa writes "How can they have 1 million in their account? Rebecca paa!"
Kofi Ghana writes "You are Shameless"
Again, the Minority caucus in parliament is calling for a probe into the accounts of the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and whether or not she spent the monies paid into her account, as they also want an audit into the accounts of the wife of the vice president, Samira Bawumia.
According to the Minority, the Auditor-General (A-G) must compute interest accrued on the refunded GH¢899,097.84 by First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the expected GH¢887,482 from Samira Bawumia.
Member of Parliament for the Awutu Senya West constituency Gizella Tetteh-Agbotui, has even gone further, saying that calls for the opening of the ‘pandora’s box’ into her NGO, as she said nobody told the First Lady to pay back all the allowances but since she decided to do so voluntarily then it is in the right direction to pay back with interest to the state as her side is demanding.
Ms Tetteh-Agbotui said the minority is asking for the interest to be paid and an audit into her Rebecca Foundation, especially when a state enterprise like the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation(GNPC) paid a whopping GHS 750,000 into the account of the foundation.
“The Professor’s committee had no right to push her under the Article 71 office holders, they don’t qualify to be in that category at all. And now this brings to bear what laws are going to be on the whole First Ladies job description, in fact what are their job descriptions? What activities are they supposed to do?’’ she quizzed this morning on TV3's New Day.
“I’m bringing it back to the whole governance issue, we have to sit down and state it clearly for everybody to know what they are entitled to and what they are not entitled to. To be fair, they are entitled to something, the quantum is another matter, the backdating is also another matter, especially in this time of hardship. And so if Ghanaians are angry and upset about this, naturally so because this is huge.
“Nobody has asked her to pay back this, she voluntarily paid it back so then if you are paying it back, pay with interest. The minority’s press conference they did, they also talked about funds to the Rebecca Foundation, especially state funds when GNPC gave her about 750,000 to her foundation and that opens another pandora’s box again about the accountability of NGOs, the First Ladies, Second Ladies and all those ladies in higher office and generally accountability on all NGOs.
“So maybe there has to be that, as lawmakers we have to now look at that system and how we are going to streamline that as well. And it comes back to governance as well, sometimes we have to set certain things right, like I said she can’t seem to take the heat so she has refunded. About the call for paying interest, my second deputy leader, he is the chairman of the public accounts committee so if he is making that request he knows why he is making that request”, she concluded.
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