Former President John Dramani Mahama has said he does not have money to refund the ex gratia that was paid to him.
Speaking at the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Professional Forum Dinner and Awards Night in Accra on Sunday, March 5, Mr Mahama said amidst laughter from his audience that “I say we will cancel ex gratia, if you will also cancel it say it but why are you insulting me and saying I should refund mine? Will you cancel it or you won’t, tell the people of Ghana but they are saying I should bring mine first.
“I have spent the money already and now I am a pensioner, where am I going to get that money to pay back? I am unemployed but they say bring yours to show you have good faith, I have no source of income, and you say I shouldn’t work.
“They say the president should not hold the office of profits so you gave it to me, I spent it then you come and say I should refund it, where am I going to refund it from?.
“They don’t understand the gravity of the situation. I do think that for those of them who speak for NPP, don’t understand the gravity of the situation, but is good for our party.”
Earlier, he described the comment by private legal practitioner Martin Kpebu to return all the ex gratia paid to him in the past following his promise to cancel it, as silly.
Addressing supporters of the NDC in the Volta region on Saturday, March 4, Mr Mahama said “I said categorically that when we come into office we will cancel ex gratia for the executives because the president is in charge of the executive, so he can cancel it for the executives but then you have to persuade the other arms of government to see that there is no fairness in continuing to pay ourselves ex gratia when the ordinary worker does not receive it because you are the leaders, you must show by example. If the economy is in crisis why should we continue to take ex gratia when the rest of the public and civil services don’t take it? So, I said categorically that we will cancel exgratia.
“And then somebody who should know better, a lawyer, he said, then I should refund all the ex gratia we took before to show Ghanaians that yes, we are serious about cancelling it, he does not even know the principle in our constitution that says that you can’t pass retroactive legislative if you pass legislative today, it does not affect what happened in the past, what he says is a bit silly because it is like saying because we have introduced free SHS all of us should go and get a refund of our school fees that we paid in the past. That is how silly what he is saying is.”
Mr Martin Kpebu had said it makes sense to ask Mr Mahama to return the ex gratia that he received after indicating that he is going to cancel its payment should he win the next elections as President.
As a sign of commitment, Mr Kepbu said, Mr Mahama should return all the payments made to him.
Speaking on the Key Points on TV3 Saturday, March 4, Mr Kpebu said “Mahama made money whiles as president so he should look within himself and say look ‘I will return it’. He should return it because, in these national elections, they are going to do, hundreds of millions of dollars, where does it come from? They made money so the exgratia is small. So he should just tell the people ‘I have grown older, I think I have become wiser, I am returning the money,’ That exgratia he should return it
“You know Dan Kwaku Yeboah of Peace FM, I think he is the lead campaigner for Mr Mahama to return his ex gratia. When I looked at it I said yes it made sense. Mr Mahama should do introspection and return it as a sign of good faith, that once I have returned the money I am committed. Number two, the amendment he should put into writings.”
Mr Mahama promised that he will scrap ex gratia when he gets the nod to lead this country again.
“The payment of ex gratia to members of the executive will be scrapped,” Mr Dramani Mahama announced when he launched his bid to be the 2024 Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
“The necessary constitutional steps to take this will start in earnest in 2025. We will also persuade members of the other arms of government to accept its removal,” he assured.