Thursday, January 22, 2009

Kufuor suffers cut in ex-gratia

Parliament will be slashing the ex-gratia package recommended by the controversial Chinery Hesse Committee report according to Joy online.

The leadership of the House has agreed to meet on the 27 of January, when the Parliament resumes sitting, to start the process of reviewing the package which has attracted widespread public condemnation.

Ghanaians have criticised plans to give former President John Agyekum Kufuor a massive retirement package, including six chauffeur-driven cars and two houses.

Majority Leader Alban Bagbin told Joy FM on Thursday, he has been conferring with some members of the house including Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu to take a second look at the package for the former President.

"Parliament should find a way of having a second look at the issue, the principles and the quantum involved and definitely review it to take into consideration many of the concerns that have been expressed by the general public," Mr Bagbin said.

Although former President Kufuor has refused to issue a formal statement on the raging debate, sources close to the Mr Kufuor have said he would rather opt for three vehicles instead of the six that was proposed by the Chinery Hesse Committee report.

The sources however indicated that the former President would justify the proposed GH¢460,000 as money not for his personal use but to help humanity.

Mr Bagbin also criticised the poor job Parliament did in scrutinizing the Chinery Hesse report stressing that steps must be taken to ensure that Parliament is truly independent of the Executive.

There has however been no mention of a review of the package for other former government functionaries including members of parliament (MPs).

While the Speaker of the House takes home a lump sum of over GH¢100,000, including a duty-post vehicle and free medical care upon retirement from the job, former MPs will be entitled to GH¢56,000 including the privilege to purchase a duty-post vehicle.

The issue has sent most of the MPs who have spoken to the media running for cover with excuses that they were not present during the approval of the report.

Former Chief of Staff Kwadwo Mpiani has also been served with his piece of the blame.

He has however vehemently rejected the criticisms.

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