The Supreme Court today December 3, 2020, threw out a case brought before it by some 43 former Members of Parliament(MPs) in the fourth republic who were demanding some payment of monies to them.
In a unanimous decision read by retiring Supreme Court judge, Justice Sule Gbadegbe, the court noted that the constitution did not intend to create pensions for MPs.
Rather, the apex court said the constitution paves way for gratuities to rather be paid since it is different from pensions.
The court, therefore, ruled that it was unconstitutional for the Chinery Hesse Committee set up by former President Kufuor in 2008 to have sought to create a pension package for MPs.
The former MPs were demanding payment of GH₵233,495 each as pensions.
These MPs were demanding unpaid arrears to the tune of over GHC29m.
Even though the Auditor-General Daniel Yao Domelevo stated that the MPs do not deserve the money and therefore refused to verify their demand in order for them to be paid, the former MPs defended their demand, insisting that they rightfully earned the monies which remain outstanding.
In a letter written May 2020 from the Auditor General to the Chief of Staff who had been petitioned by the Forum for Former Members of Parliament (FFMP) with David Apesera as their leader said there was no justification for such payment.
“I wish to strongly advise that you [Chief of Staff] ignore the request for additional payment being demanded by the FFMP because their argument that the request is based on recommendations of or lapses in the Chinery Hesse Committee report is invalid.”
He continued “The impression is being created that it is the committee and not the President who determines the emoluments for the legislature”.
Adding that “Article 71(1) of the Constitution provides that the salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available, to the Legislature, Judiciary, Auditor General and others, shall be determined by the President on the recommendations of a committee.”
“My understanding of the constitutional provision is that the entitlements of the legislature are those approved by the president and not necessarily the recommendations of the committee.
“For instance, the report issued by the Prof Dora Edu-Buandoh’s committee (PDEBC) recommended salary levels lesser than what was approved, hence higher amounts were paid to almost all (if not all) Article 70 officeholders in 2017,” the letter read in parts.