Yes, you may say that the First and Second Ladies have done the most spectacular and politically ‘sane’ act by refunding monies paid them as allowances since they took office in 2017. Running over a million Ghana Cedis, the cumulative amount refunded by H.E Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and H.E Samira Bawumia, is such an amount that makes great difference to public funds.
But then their reaction following the political agenda that was set before them when news broke that the Prof Ntiamoa-Boadu Committee's had recommended the approval of payment of salaries for Presidential Spouses, seems to have no effect to an argument raised by former President John Dramani Mahama who rejected that proposal.
In fact, it is a checkmate, and the Rebecca and Samira had fallen for it. The public outcry and criticism were intensified after John Mahama waded into the controversy about Presidential Spousal Emolument, and created an impression that his wife could not be a beneficiary to such an arrangement on grounds that any payment of salaries or allowances as proposed by the committee is unconstitutional.
Furtherance to which, John Mahama alleged that the First and Second Lady have been receiving allowances since 2017, and that should there be any payment taking into account an accrual from that date, that will amount to double payment.
“It has also been indicated that the First and Second Ladies have been receiving allowances from 2017 to date. Should the Government choose to ignore the cries of the citizenry, as seems to be the pattern of the day, steps must then be taken to ensure that the Committee’s recommendations are not retroactively applied, leading to double payments.”
So why the hurry by the two Ladies to refund all the monies received over the period? Are they expectant of receiving something much better than this or simply wanted to avoid another controversy as ‘double payment’?
Well, Mahama seems to have outsmarted them with an argument in his reaction to the committee’s recommendation by stating that the wife and that of the Vice President [Amissah Atta] during his administration only received state support for activities that were of national interest.
He played the ‘saint’ for not submitting to proposals that were made during [late] Mills’ administration to have this formalized. And in no section of his claim did he demand a refund of the monies paid to the First and Second Ladies, that some Ghanaians including that of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) are mounting pressure on his wife, former First Lady Lordina Mahama to refund hers.
What he said which strongly objected to the approval of the recommendations by parliament was that “spouses of the President and VP into permanent office holders, in addition to the support provided to their offices, would appear unreasonable.”
There is nothing to hold Lordina Mahama to refund those monies she received from the state. John Mahama indicated that her allowances were only provided for per allocations made from the Office of the Presidency.
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