Pressure group, OccupyGhana has urged President Nana Akufo-Addo to holistically examine the relevant provisions and propose to the people of Ghana a solution that best allays the usual anxieties associated with emoluments and benefits each time there is a change of government.
The group in a press release said; “We are disturbed by the perennial nature of the issue of Article 71 emoluments and benefits. The usual angst and concern expressed by the good people of Ghana every time the issue comes up is indicative of a certain deficiency or deliberate error in the interpretation and application of the Constitutional arrangement by successive Parliaments and Presidents.”
“These need to be addressed. In agreeing to the Article 71 arrangements, the people of Ghana assumed that reasonable Parliaments and Presidents would act primarily in the best interest of the citizenry as fiduciaries. It is sad that this fiduciary duty is ignored or breached at every transition in a manner that is at best out of touch with the aspirations of the people or, at its worst, in contemptuous disregard of the people,” it added.
OccupyGhana followed the debate on the request or demand by the Office of President John Mahama, the immediate past president, with respect to the twin-bungalow government property at Number 3 Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra as part of his end-of-service benefits, and concerned about claims from the office of the former president that there was a concluded agreement between itself and the then incoming government.
The group explained that that would have been illegal since an incoming government would have had no power to bind the nation to any agreement.
“Given that some arrangements had apparently been approved by Parliament, we remained optimistic, based on the assurances by at least three government appointees to the effect that no such agreement existed between the outgoing and new governments with respect to this specific house, that the supreme interest of the people of Ghana was going to be safeguarded in all of this,” the group further said.
It said although, the former president has withdrawn the request, it should not be the end of the matter and that issues on emoluments and benefit needs to be addressed comprehensively and conclusively.
By Pamela Ofori-Boateng