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Ex Gratia Report Flawed   
 
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21-Jul-2009  
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The Ishmael Yamson Committee (IYC) appointed by President J.E.A. Mills to review the ex gratia payable to Article 71 office holders says an earlier report purportedly prepared by the Chinery-Hesse Committee (CHC) could not be the basis for determining those emoluments. On the work of the CHC, the IYC said it discovered that there were actually two different reports - one submitted in June 2008 and the other in December 2008.

It noted further that in spite of that, neither of the two alleged "Final" reports was signed by any of the three Committee Members, even though Mr Fred Oware did sign a letter of transmittal that accompanied the June 2008 "Final" Report. The IYC said it was deeply troubled by the fact that there were two versions of the then Chief of Staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani's letter of December 30, 2008 purporting to transmit the President's approval of the CHC reports to Parliament and called for a thorough investigation into that conduct to establish the authenticity of the two versions of the "Final" reports.


It explained that such investigation was "necessary to preserve the integrity of Executive communication with Parliament and possibly other institutions. The IYC report which is currently before Parliament said it could not also establish "which of these two reports was purportedly approved by ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor and the then Parliament". It, therefore, rejected the CHC Report as the basis for determining the facilities and privileges of members of the immediate past administration and Parliament.


On March 31, 2009; President Mills, in the discharge of his constitutional duties, appointed a five-member committee, under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution, to revisit the issue of determining the salaries and allowances, as well as facilities and privileges, for specified constitutional office holders. The committee had Mr Ishmael Yamson as its chairman, with Mrs Helen K. Lokko, Prof Takyiwaa Manuh, Dr Sulley Gariba and Mr Dennis K.Y. Vormawor as members. It was "to make recommendations in respect of the emoluments and other facilities and privileges to the holders of the offices specified in Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution and to examine any other relevant matters which the committee considers appropriate".


During it investigations, the IYC said it established that at the time of submission of the so-called December 2008 "Final" Report, the three-member CHC had long disintegrated. It noted that the Chairman, Mrs Chinery-Hesse, had resigned as Chairperson of the CHC when she was appointed Special Advisor to ex president Kufuor, while the second member Mr Alhassan Andani, had worked with the CHC for less than two months left for South Africa and had little to do with the work of the committee, after which he was appointed Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Limited.


The report said the third member, Mr Fred Oware left the CHC to concentrate on his new full-time job as Chief Executive of the Bui Dam Authority. "Consequently, the IYC could not establish the authorship of the reports which differed in very material particulars. The IYC could especially not determine which of the two ''Final'' reports was purportedly approved by the ex-President and by Parliament," It said . Furthermore, although the then Parliament and ex-President Kufuor insisted that constitutionally prescribed approvals were given to the recommendations of the CHC for office holders under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution, the IYC noted some serious infractions.


It revealed that by a letter dated January 6, 2009 and signed by the Clerk of Parliament (Mr Emmanuel Anyimadu) and addressed to the then Chief of staff, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani, Parliament was purported to have conveyed approval for the CHC Report to the Presidency. "Parliament's letter purporting to convey approval for the entire CHC Report went contrary to its constitutional mandate. Article 71 of the 1992 requires Parliament to determine the facilities and privileges of Article 71 (2) office holders, namely, the President, the Vice-President, the chairman and other members of the Council of State; ministers and deputy ministers of state," the report said.


It argued, however, that that mandate did not extend to Article 71 (1) office holders, which include the Speaker, the deputy speakers; Members of Parliament, the Chief Justice, among others. The report said further that although more than one "Final" Report was received by the Executive (that is, the Presidency), no mention was made of the particular report being approved, adding that the two reports contained significant differences, they were not signed and also the December 2008 report was not covered by a transmittal letter.


According to the report, both the President and Parliament did not give approvals, as they were mandated to do by the Constitution, stressing that "on the contrary, both the President and Parliament sought to approve the emoluments applicable to all persons listed under Article 71 of the Constitution. The report also recommended that all future recommendations relating to the determination of the emoluments, facilities and privileges of Article 71 office holders should consider the country's ability not only to fund such emoluments in the short term but also its sustainability in the long term, as well as the cascading effects.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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