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JAK Refuses Ex-Gratia Cheque
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Former President of the Republic of Ghana: John Agyekum (Diewuo) Kufour
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There seems to be no end in sight to the controversy surrounding the appropriate ex-gratia awards for ex-Presidents and Article 7 office holders as, there appears to be no payment yet made to the two living former Presidents unlike former Members of Parliament (MP’s) contrary to what President John Evans Atta Mills said yesterday.

President Mills yesterday in a media interaction with Senior Journalists at the Castle Gardens, Osu, to field varied questions to mark his first anniversary in office, revealed that the government had ‘made some payments’, to the two former Presidents; Jerry John Rawlings and John Agyekum Kufuor in relation to their ex-gratia awards and emoluments.

“The report recommended certain things and we accepted them. We acted in accordance with the recommendations of the Ishmael Yamson Committee (IYC) so something has been paid to them”, President Mills answered in a direct response to a question posed by The New Crusading Guide on whether the former Presidents have been paid.

However, in an exclusive interview with The New Crusading Guide, spokesperson for former President Kufuor, Frank Agyekum sharply denied that former President Kufuor had received any money from the government as part of his ex-gratia.

He explained that somewhere in December last year, a Youngman visited the residence of former President to sign and receive the cheque but he refused to sign.

Mr. Agyekum continued that, “We asked the youngman on which committee’s report was the cheque issued but he said he could not tell so we asked him to take the cheque back for the proper thing to be done”.

Moreover, according to Mr. Agyekum, since entitlements for Article 7 office holders were not only about money but also about facilities such as office, vehicles, etc, it was important for the former President to know which of the recommendation was being used.

In another interview with Kofi Adams, Spokesperson for former Present, Jerry John Rawlings (JJ), he explained that since JJ had already been paid his ex-gratia by the Kufuor government, he was not entitled to any new one. He however explained to The New Weekend Newspaper that Ex-President Rawlings continues to “draw his monthly salary which is equal to the sitting President’s; excluding allowances”.

President Mills further argued that “there is no report on ex-gratia”. The New Crusading Guide, it would be recalled, in a publication dated 29th July, 2009, under the heading “Controversy over ex-gratia: Yamson Committee Damned”, reported Mr. Fred Oware, a member of the Chinery Hesse Committee (CHC), as describing claims by the IYC that “it cannot confirm which of the final reports was supposedly approved” as “ridiculous and preposterous”

The IYC report confirmed speculations that the motive behind the review was not to correct procedural defects but to significantly cut down the emoluments for ex-Presidents and Article 71 public office holders as it said in its Executive Summary that ‘Ghana currently faces a serious economic crisis, partly due to the global financial meltdown but, more so, to Ghana’s own lack of fiscal prudence and policy failures, especially from 2006”.

In a subtle response to Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah’s description of his Ministerial team as a “Team B”, President John Mills said he was proud to have captained and coached a “Team B” over the last one year.

“If NDC Team B can perform this well in one year; they (other political parties) should wait for the Team A. When the Team A comes they will see what is going to happen and I am proud to be associated with Team B. I am the captain for the benefit of the people of Ghana”, President Mills said boastfully.

Apart from the question on ex-gratia that took centre stage, lot of the questions asked bordered on the resignation of the former Minister for Youth and Sports, Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka.

Mohammed Muntaka was accused of spending state funds on his girlfriend and baby among several other accusations. He was also accused of acquiring a visa for the said lady to travel to Germany based on false representation.

President John Mills, however, strongly defended the Asawase MP, saying the former Sports Minister was never indicted for corruption but for “indiscretion” on his part.

He commended Hon. Muntaka for his decision to resign honorably since some ministers in former administrations who were guilty of the same accusations never had the courage to resign as Muntaka did.

“Since when have Ministers, given this fact, had the courage to tender their resignation; how many can you cite? Even where there is clear cut evidence, they say they will stay on. I am happy that this young man took this step just to send a signal that whenever I think that my action is being called into question, I think that it is important for me to step aside and regroup for a future occasion”, the President said.

President Mills also asked Ghanaians to forgive the beleaguered Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Opoku Manu who recently at an NDC political program in Kumasi, urged party supporters to beat up their opponents when necessary.

His statement incurred swift responses from civil society groups deploring the Minister’s comments. Hon Opoku Manu subsequently apologized for the comments.

But the NPP issued a statement on Wednesday, calling for the dismissal and prosecution of the Minister, stating that the comment having come from the Regional Minister who is the Chairman of the Regional security Council, was reprehensible and in bad taste.
But the President in an answer to a question posed by this paper, called on Ghanaians to forgive the Minister since he had learnt his lessons.

“We all err from time to time, and once he has apologized he is admitting that he went too far. So please let’s forgive him just as we are even forgiven for the bigger crimes that we commit. Be merciful to him and I believe that he will learning his lessons from this”, President Mills pleaded.
Source: The New Weekend Crusading Guide/Ghana

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