Togbe Afede’s action was not to attract commendation but to push us to insist on reforms – Asare

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A United States-based Ghanaian Professor, Kwaku Asare, has said as commendable and significant as the ‘unprecedented’ voluntary return of the ex gratia by the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV is, it is fair to say he did not return it because he needed commendations from the people.

Rather, Prof Asare said, he returned it to draw attention, prick the conscience, and push the people to insist on the reform of “a predatory emolument regime that transfers huge and outrageous amounts to a few people who volunteer to serve poor Ghana.”

Togbe Afede XIV return the sum of GH¢365,392.67 paid to him as ex gratia for his tenure as a Council of State Member for the period 2017-2021. 

He had served on the Council in his capacity as the President of the National House of Chiefs. He explained that the payment was not to trap him, contrary to speculations after he made a refund to the Controller and Accountant General.

“I did not think the payment was made to trap me, as is being speculated,” he stated in a press release on Monday, June 6.

“I believe it was it was paid to everybody who served on the Council of State.

“However, I thought that extra payment was inappropriate for a short, effectively part-time work, for which I received a monthly salary and was entitled to other privileges. So, I was very uncomfortable with it.”

He stressed that he had written to the Council of State to state his reasons for rejecting the ex-gratia.

His action has divided public opinion with some, including a Professor at the University of Ghana Ransford Gyampo, commending him for his action.

Prof Gyampo for instance, said it sends a signal to all persons being given what he describes as ‘illegal’ ex-gratia to do same.

“Overall, I think it is something that is commendable. The man is saying I was taking a monthly salary and so I don’t see why I should take this kind of money as ex-gratia. It should be a good message to all who are given illegal ex-gratia,” Gyampo said on the mid day news on TV3 Tuesday June 7,

Commenting on this matter in a Facebook post, Prof Kwaku Asare said “He wants us to ask why a retiring superior court judge retires on his current salary and collects an additional 4 months salary for each year that he has served. This means if the judge currently earns ₵20,000 a month and served for 20 years, he will get ₵1.6M ex gratia and continue to collect ₵20,000 a month in retirement.

“He wants us to ask why part time public officials are paid as though they are full time employees and are then rewarded with further huge payments at the end of their service.

“He wants us to ask for a full list of all ex gratia recipients along with the amounts they have received since the inception of this emolument regime.

“He wants us to ask tough questions about the opportunity cost of these transfers. He wants us to discuss the fairness and sustainability of these schemes, etc.

“He reminds us that we are a POOR country that can hardly meet our basic needs and is in no position to keep making these payments. Of course, those who enjoy it do not want us to reflect and act on these questions, and so they tap into our Ghanaians instincts, which is to give us some ‘kotokiokos’ attendance register showing that Togbe does not regularly attend meetings.

“Then we do touch screen analysis of and argue over the attendance register why the beneficiaries eat their guineafowl, drink their champagne, and laugh at the ease with which we can be distracted by nothingness! How long shall they raid the treasury while we get diverted by [irrelevant] analysis?”

By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana

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