Professor Kwadwo Appiagyei-Atua of the University of Ghana School of Law has stated that the payment of ex-gratia to Members of Parliament (MPs) is not justified.
As a result, he wants it to be scrapped.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Thursday, June 16, he said government must stop paying the ex-gratia.
He insisted that the political elite are taking advantage of the same “benefit to milk the state.”
As such, he urged MPs with a focus on the said benefit to live within their means.
“No, it cannot be justified, and I think that Parliament should sit up and say that if you are saying that you spend too much due to campaigning and so on, be circumspect in your campaigning because that is where corruption starts.”
“Cut your coat according to your size if you know you are not expecting ex-gratia, you’ll know how to organize your political campaign.”
Prof. Appiagyei-Atua also rejected the justification by the Speaker of Parliament for the payment.
“If you are talking about the fact that ex-gratia is made available to everyone whether you win elections or lose and don’t come back, you are entitled to that, then how can you call that a retiring benefit?
“They also need to look at the fact that it is a huge amount of money and the justification that the Speaker is putting to it, it is not just because if you are paying for people’s funerals and school fees and so on, why do you turn around to the government to pay that money back to you.
“It is a way you want to use to return to power, and it is purely at the discretion of that MP to use that money just to hold on to power. So I think it is not justified.”
The Rt. Honourable Speaker at a public lecture at the University for Professional Studies, Accra, on Wednesday, June 15, justified the payment of ex-gratia to Members of Parliament.
He contended that the money is very important for the sustenance of the MPs after serving the country.
According to him, MPs do not benefit much from ex-gratia as the public perceives.
He explained that the money spent by Members of Parliament to campaign for their elections is three times more than the ex-gratia they receive.
“We are having these problems because there is some perception that ex-gratia is some huge money…You know that as MPs you don’t benefit from that ex-gratia, you don’t, because the money you spent to be elected to Parliament is thrice or four times what they give you as ex-gratia. No MP leaves Parliament better than the MP enters Parliament.
“Once an MP is elected, he must win the next election, and so they sacrifice everything to satisfy the voters in the constituency so that they could win again. So at the end of the day when they lose the election, they have lost everything, they have invested everything in the election, and they now have nothing,” he noted.
The subject of ex-gratia recently resurfaced following the former Council of State member, Togbe Afede’s decision to reject over 300 thousand Cedis paid to him after serving on the National Council of State between 2017 and 2020.
Subsequently, social media users showered accolades on the Paramount Chief for rejecting the amount paid him as ex-gratia.
The netizens praised him for protecting the public purse and thinking of the growth and development of the country. Even though, some people didn’t agree with him.