Parliament to review controversial retirement packages

Alban Bagbin - Majority Leader
Alban Bagbin - Majority Leader

The leaders of Parliament on Friday gave strong indications that the House would initiate discussions into the end-of-service benefits for the executive and other public officers following heavy criticisms by the public and media.

Mr Alban Bagbin, Majority Leader and Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader, were speaking to the GNA in separate interviews in Accra.

Mr Bagbin said he would begin discussions with the leadership of the House on Tuesday when Parliament reconvened.

He said they would be reviewing the entire package and their conclusions would be forwarded to President John Evans Atta Mills.

Mr Bagbin said they accepted blame for not properly scrutinising the package.

On accusations that the Executive appeared to have undue influence on the Legislature and therefore Parliament could not assert itself, Mr Bagbin said there would be the need for constitutional review to make Parliament more independent.

Mr Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu said they had taken note of public comments and emotions that had engulfed discussions on the matter and would “put their heads together.”

On the need for Parliament to assert itself, the Minority Leader said after 16 years, it was time for a review of the entire 1992 constitution including the entrenched provisions which would need to go through a referendum for any form of amendment.

The Chinnery-Hesse Report was passed by Parliament on the last day of the Fourth Parliament but many MPs have denied seeing the document while others said they were not present at the closed sitting of the House which gave the green light.

The committee recommended that former president should be given fully furnished residences that befit them at a place of his choice – one in Accra and another out of the national capital.

A former president would be entitled, among other privileges, to six fully maintained comprehensively insured, fuelled and chauffeured-driven cars to be replaced every four years. The fleet comprise of three salon cars, two cross country cars and one all-purpose vehicle.

The houses would be maintained by the states but would not revert to the state when the former president dies.

The report also noted that travelling in congested traffic by the former president would be facilitated by police escort bearing in mind security considerations.

According to the report, the former president and spouse are entitled to one overseas travel once a year with a maximum duration of 45 days, but if he had served two consecutive terms, he would be entitled to 65 days.

The former first couple, in addition to their privileges will travel on diplomatic passports and courtesies accompanied by three professional and personal assistants and adequate security.

The ex-president will have a 24-hour security services, entertainment package for his leisure among others at the expense of the state.

The committee also recommends that the former president receives a non-taxable ex-gratia award equivalent to 12 months consolidated salary for each full year of service but where the president serves a second consecutive term, an additional non-taxable resettlement grant of six months consolidated salary for each full year of service or pro rata would be paid together with non-taxable ex-gratia of 12 months consolidated salary for each year in office.

Source: GNA

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