Dennis Miracles Aboagye, a presidential staffer and a member of the ruling New Patriotic Party’s communications team, has defended former President John Dramani Mahama over calls to refund his ex-gratia.
Following Mr. Mahama’s promise to scrap the payment of ex-gratia to Article 71 officeholders, some Ghanaians have challenged him to prove his honesty by returning the ones he received already.
In a TV discussion, a Ghanaian legal practitioner, lawyer Martin Kpebu, told the former President to show his commitment by towing the steps of Togbe Afede, who refunded his ex-gratia back to the nation.
“Mahama should do introspection and return it [ex-gratia] as a sign of good faith; once I have returned the money, I am committed,” he said.
In a sharp rebuttal, Mr. Mahama, in an address to some supporters of the NDC in the Volta Region on Saturday, March 4, described the comment as “silly.”
He explained that his ex-gratia abolition is a future call. According to him, policies are progressive and for that matter do not apply to the past.
“If the economy is in crisis, why should we continue to take ex-gratia when the rest of the public and civil service does not take it?
“And then somebody who should know better, a lawyer [Martin Kpebu], said I should refund all the ex-gratia I took before to show Ghanaians that we [NDC] are serious,” Mahama jabbed.
“He doesn’t even know the principle in our constitution that says you cannot pass retroactive legislation… and what he says is a bit silly, because it’s like saying because we have introduced Free SHS, all of us should get a refund of our fees we paid in the past; that’s how silly it is,” Mahama stressed.
Reacting to this, the former Akuapem North Municipal Chief Executive (MCE), said there is no need for the one-time president to refund the money he took some years ago.
He, however, noted that Mr. Mahama deserves to be given such pressure because he tried to mislead Ghanaians with his promise.
“I disagree with the calls for Prez JDM to refund his end-of-service benefits. But of course he brought this upon himself in his attempt to mislead with his comment on Ex-Gratia.
“His insults on everyone are completely uncalled for. Citizens don’t seem to trust him much,” he said in a tweet on Tuesday, March 7.