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Rawlings rubbishes ex-gratia awards

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Jerry Rawlings

Former President Jerry Rawlings has rubbished the ex-gratia awards for ex-presidents and former public officials that have been approved by the country’s Parliament.

The awards were approved a day before the Kufuor administration handed over power to the in-coming Mills administration.

The former president described the package as “rubbish and absurd,” saying “ I am not interested in it.”

Former President Rawlings said these when he spoke to Joy News at the Kotoka International Airport on his way to Europe Sunday night January 25, 2009.

He accused President Kufour of colluding with the Chinery-Hesse Committee to give him what he called “the absurd” pension so he would use that as a “cover to enjoy his loot after leaving office.”

According to Rawlings, the package is “completely irrational.”

He said stories that he took home 22 vehicles when he left office were untrue. “The only vehicle they took away from me was one they said is a bullet proof. It is not true that I took home 22 vehicles,” he said.

Rawlings said when he was in office, he was paid ¢4.2m (old Ghana cedis), which is GH¢420. He said for his pension it was reduced to GH¢340.

He then accused former President Kufuor of slashing everyone else’s salaries and raising his own.

The ex-gratia awards for ex-presidents and other public officials have generated heated debates in the country since it became public.

Most Ghanaians saw it as “obsene and vulgar”. Others even say it is an attempt by politicians to ‘rape’ the country.

Some former Members of Parliament who were said to have approved the pension for the Executive came out to deny ever seeing the said document, implying the document was smuggled into Parliament and subsequently approved under questionable circumstances.

Mr. P. C. Appiah-Ofori, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Asikuma-Odoben-Brakwa Constituency described the act as “criminal” and threatened to go to court.

The pension for ex-presidents included a lump sum of GH¢400,000, monthly emoluments, police escorts, personal assistants, entyertainment, two fully furnished houses, one in Accra and the other outside Accra at any site that the ex-president might choose. It also includes six vehicles to be fueled and maintained by the state, and these vehicles were to be changed every four years. The state was also to pay for the foreign travels of the ex-president and his spouse for a period of 65 days, and should he die all these shall not revert to the state.

Parliament has in reaction said it would review the scheme.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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