It has emerged that Parliament at the last-minute amended the approved retirement package for President John Mahama to include the provision of a fully furnished residence for the former president who exited office on January 7.
Per the initial emoluments of the president proposed by the Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh’s committee and approved by parliament, President Mahama was to retire on a salary of GHC22,809 and a monthly 40 per cent of his salary as accommodation allowance.
Prof. Edu-Buandoh’s report on Presidential Emoluments Committee which was approved by the sixth parliament prior to the Christmas holidays, did not include the provision of official residence by the State to President Mahama as contained in the Chinery-Hesse Committee Report (2001-2005).
But the majority leader in Parliament, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said on Joy FM Monday morning that President Mahama wrote to Parliament to request that he be provided a residence by the State as part of his package as a former president.
He said even though a decision had been taken by Parliament on the Prof. Edu-Buandoh’s repot, it “had to be rescinded to accommodate the President’s request that he be provided with an official residence in Accra”.
But he, however, explained that did not in any way mean Parliament approved that the former president maintains his official residence at Cantonments in Accra, saying ” Parliament, I must emphasize, did not say that where he is now should be the residential property to be given to him.
“If the president requires that I think the relevant authority is that, he may have to dialogue with the current administration,” he added.
President Mahama before exiting office wrote to the Akufo-Addo transition team through his chief of staff, requesting that he be given ” Bungalow No.3, Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra and its adjoining facilities as his official retirement home.”
Reports surfaced after the investiture of President Akufo-Addo and his vice Saturday that Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has been stranded because former President Mahama has declined to vacate the official residence.
The decision has been widely criticized by Ghanaians, triggering a debate as to whether former presidents should be given such package.
Spokesperson of former President Mahama issued a statement Sunday to explain the former president’s discussion, which he said, was based on a discussion with the Akufo-Addo transition team.
But Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu argued Monday that the transition act is clear, stating “even if he has to be provided with official residence, he ought to have vacated that residence”.
By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana