Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mpiani hit back at critics over ex-gratia

Former Chief of Staff, Kwadwo Mpiani has angrily reacted to allegations that he 'twisted the arms' of parliament to have it approve the controversial Chinery Hesse Report on presidential emolument.

A chronicle publication accused him of "smuggling" the report to parliament and financially influencing members to pass the bill into law.

That suggestion Mr. Mpiani insists is not only an insult, but an indictment on the house of parliament, and called on the newspaper to retract and apologise.

"Being a stranger to the standing orders of parliament," the palpably incensed Mpiani explained, it is ridiculous and insulting for anyone to suggest that he smuggled the report to parliament to have it approved.

He told Citi News on Wednesday, the committee had for the past six months been deliberating with members of parliament and is therefore untrue suggestions that the report was taken to the house on the final day of the last parliament.

He challenged journalists to investigate their stories thoroughly before coming out with their publications.

Mr. Mpiani also dismissed the notion that the retirement benefit is only for ex-president Kufuor, saying, all Ex-Presidents are entitled.

Describing the criticisms that have characterized the report as "unnecessary controversy," Mr. Mpiani pointed out that parliament has the unreserved right to reverse the decision.

"Parliament has the right to make laws, amend them, or take away laws from its books," he stressed.

He argued the recent report is no different from an earlier proposal by the same committee to adjust salaries to Ministers, and Ex-President Rawlings.

Based on parliament's approval the increments were paid by the Controller General's Department, he noted.

Asked whether Ex-President Kufuor was privy to the content of the report, Mr. Mpiani said, he did not have any discussion with him on the issue, but cannot tell if the committee members did.


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