The First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo has rejected all allowances due her and decided to refund sums paid since 2017.
The decision follows what Mrs Akufo-Addo describes as “some extremely negative opinions, in some cases, which she finds distasteful, seeking to portray her as a venal, self-serving and self-centred woman, who does not care about the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian”.
The First Lady in a statement said she has decided to refund the state an amount of GH¢899,097.84.
“The First Lady, in consultation with the President of the Republic, has decided to refund all the monies paid to her as allowances from the date of the President’s assumption of office, i.e., from January 2017 to date, amounting to GHS899,097.84,” the statement said.
“The First Lady has also decided not to accept any monies that have been allocated to be paid to her, pursuant to the recommendations of the Ntiamoa-Baidu committee, as approved by Parliament. She is doing this as a purely personal decision, without prejudice to the rights of others, and not to undermine the propriety of the process undertaken by Parliament.”
Mrs Akufo-Addo said she did not request to be paid any allowance, adding that “she only received that which existed and [was] attached to her status, albeit informally.”
The First Lady’s decision follows the public debate over the Parliamentary approval of a recommendation for the First and Second Ladies to receive monthly salaries.
The recommendations were made by the five-member Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo to make recommendations on the salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 officeholders.
Lawsuits challenging allowances for presidential spouses
The first was filed by two National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) — Mr Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, South Dayi, and Dr Clement Apaak, Builsa South, while the second was filed by the Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Kwame Baffoe alias Abronye DC.
The legislators, who have been joined in the suit by one Frederick Nii Commey, are seeking eight reliefs from the Supreme Court.
Plaintiffs are yet to file their statement of case explaining the basis of their case.
Former Prez Mahama rejects approval
Former President John Dramani Mahama has rejected the payment of monthly salaries for the First Lady and Second Lady describing the recommendation as “inappropriate” and its approval as “unfortunate”.
The former President in an opinion shared on Facebook said the existing convention of providing spouses of both sitting and former Presidents and Vice Presidents with quarterly allowances should be maintained.
The practice he said started with the President Jerry John Rawlings Administration and “issues in respect of allowances of the spouses have largely been handled administratively and provided for under the budget of the Office of the President.”
“The spouses of the President and Vice President are not captured among Article 71 Office Holders and therefore there is no legal or constitutional basis for it”, he stated.
President Mahama said the practice has also included the payment of quarterly allowances to the surviving spouses of former Presidents, former Vice Presidents and former Heads of State. He explained that this practice has been appreciated by the beneficiaries as a token from the State.