Second Lady Samira Bawumia pledges to refund allowances received since 2017
The Second Lady Samira Bawumia has rejected her monthly remuneration approved by Parliament less than 24 hours after First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo did the same.
Additionally, the Second Lady has announced a refund of all monies she has received as allowances since 2017.
This was contained in a statement released by the Office of the Second Lady on July 13.
“The Second Lady, H.E. Samira Bawumia in consultation with H.E. The Vice President, will refund all allowances paid to her since 2017 and will not accept any monies allocated to her pursuant to the recommendations of the Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu led committee, as approved by Parliament on 6th January 2021,” a statement signed by Kwame Twum, Senior Aide to the Second Lady announced.
She is expected to refund a total of ¢887,482 to the state following this decision.
The Emolument Committee
The five-member committee was set up in June 2019 by President Akufo-Addo to make recommendations to him and Parliament on the salaries and allowances payable and the facilities and privileges available to article 71 officeholders.
Under the chairmanship of Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu and which also had former Majority Leader and former Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Abraham Ossei Aidooh, the Chief Executive of the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission Dr Edward Kwapong, the current Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency Dr Eric Oduro Osae, and a former Managing Director of Done Well Life Insurance Co. Ltd Mrs Stella Segbawu, the committee had two terms of reference.
They were charged to make recommendations regarding emoluments and other privileges for article 71 officeholders, as specified under the Constitution, and to examine any other relevant matter which the Committee deemed appropriate to its work.
As part of its recommendations, they proposed that allowances given to the spouses of the President and Vice President be formally included in the review of the entitlements for the executive.
The recommendation is said to have been forwarded to the Seventh Parliament, which gave the final approval.
A section of Ghanaians kick against the salaries
Meanwhile, several Ghanaians and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have kicked against the move in an era of huge pressure on the public purse and rising debts.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Professor Henry Kwesi Prempeh, is one of the critics opposing the introduction of the salaries.
Prof. H Kwesi Prempeh said the First and Second Ladies are not article 71 officeholders as enshrined in the constitution; hence they do not qualify for such benefits.
“The Article 71 Emoluments Committee has no authority to recommend payment of any allowance or emolument to First or Second Spouses, as these are not Article 71 offices or officeholders,” he insisted.
According to him, the committee should also extend the remuneration to the Speaker’s spouse by their working logic.
“Anyway, why stop at First and Second Spouses?” he asked.
Why not the Third Spouse (since the Speaker gets to act as President sometimes) or the Fourth (so the Chief Justice, too, can enjoy some marital privileges on the back of taxpayers), and on and on and on”.
“The political class cannot use the Article 71 process to smuggle in salaries or allowances for First and Second Spouses,” he maintained.
AG sued over salaries of first and second ladies
On July 8, following the debate, two NDC MPs and a private citizen sued the Attorney General over monthly remuneration for First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Second Lady Samira Bawumia.
South Dayi MP Rockson Nelson Dafeamekpor, Builsa South MP Dr Clement Apaak and the Chief Executive Officer of Safenet Logistics Frederick Nii Commey filed the suit at the registry of the Supreme Court, challenging the payment.