You are not entitled to pensions – Supreme court rules against retired MPs
The Supreme Court has ruled that retired Members of Parliament (MPs) do not have any constitutional right to receive pension.
Instead, the court said retired MPs were entitled to gratuities as stipulated in Article 114 of the 1992 constitution.
A seven-member panel in a unanimous decision on Thursday, December 3, 2020, held that the Chinnery-Hesse Committee that recommended the payment of pensions to MPs who retired from 2005-2008 acted unconstitutionally.
“By the combined reading of Article 71(3), 98(1) and Article 114 of the 1992 Constitution, the Chinnery-Hesse Committee acted unconstitutionally,” the court said.
The decision of the apex court which was read by Justice Sule Gbadegbe, as his valedictory judgement, was in relation to a constitutional reference made by the Court of Appeal to the apex court l.
The Court of Appeal is currently hearing an appeal by 43 former retired MPs who are fighting for the payment of pension in line with the Chinnery-Hesse’s recommendation.
In 2017, some 40 MPs dragged the government to court for GH₵233,495 each, being their accrued monthly pension pay.
They argued that based on the Chinnery-Hesse Presidential Emoluments Committee (PEC), parliamentarians who were 50 years and above and exited Parliament, having served two full terms, should be paid some sums of money as pension benefits.
Some notable names among the 40 former MPs who initiated the legal action are Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, Dr. Kwame Ampofo, and Kwamina Bartels.
The others are Freddie Blay, Kenneth Dzirasah, Christine Churcher, Isaac E. Edumadze (deceased), Nkrabea Effah-Darteh, David Apesera, and S.K Boafo.
The former MPs earlier lost a suit at the High Court and appealed at the Court of Appeal.
The Court of Appeal decided to make a constitutional reference to the Supreme Court to decide whether or not per the 1992 Constitution, retired MPs were entitled to pension.
Meanwhile, the former MPs expressed disappointment in the ruling of the Apex court.
In May 2018, the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo, turned down a request by the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, for an audit verification for the payment of arrears to legislators of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic.
The group had written to Ms Osei-Opare in a letter dated April 17, 2020. They had attached documents demanding some arrears in salary, gratuities and other emoluments spelt out for Article 71 holders who served between 2005 and 2008.
Ms Osei-Opare herself was also listed among the ex-MPs requesting for the payments after serving as MP for the Ayawaso West Wuogon Constituency within the period.