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First Lady bows to public pressure; rejects salaries, refunding GHS899,000

The First Lady, has succumbed to public pressure from Ghanaians against her and the Second Lady, Samira Bawumia that they will be receiving salaries equivalent to cabinet ministers, the saying she can’t accept the emoluments approved for her by Parliament.

Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has thus decided to refund to the state all the monies paid her since 2017 which amounts to GHS899,097.84, since “public discussion has been laced with some extremely negative opinions , in some cases, which she finds distasteful, seeking to portray her as a venal, self-serving and self-centered woman who does not care about the plight of ordinary Ghanaian”.

This was captured in a statement signed by Korkor Bleboo, Director of Communications at the Office of the First Lady.

Mrs. Akufo-Addo rejection, leaves Mrs. Bawumia yet to make a her position on the payments known.

The Statement from Mrs Akufo-Addo had said that “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 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.”

In the statement, Mrs. Akufo-Addo’s Director of Communications argued that the First Lady did not request to be paid any allowance and that “She only received that which existed and attached to her status, albeit informally.”

According to the statement, the wife of the president took the decision because the discussions that greeted the announcement of the allowance payments have been laced with some extremely negative opinions, which she finds distasteful as such commentaries only seek “to portray her as a venal, self-seeking and self-centered woman, who does not care about the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.”

A statement issued late evening on Monday, July 12 said “The First Lady has taken note of the ongoing conversation in the nation, following on from recommendations and the bipartisan approval by Parliament , as mandated by the Constitution as the body which approves the emoluments of the Executive.

“It is important to state that payment of such allowances existed and was made to previous First Ladies in the course of the 4th Republic , prior to Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo becoming First Lady , Mrs Akufo-Addo did not request to be paid any allowance.

She only received that which existed and attached to her status, albeit informally.

“That not withstanding , the public discussion has been laced with some extremely negative opinions , in some cases, which she finds distasteful , seeking to portray her as a venal, self-serving and self-centered woman who does not care about the plight of ordinary Ghanaian.

“In view of this the First Lady, in consultation with the President of the Republic has decided to refund all monies paid her as allowances from the date of the President’s assumption of office ie from January 2017 to date , amounting to GHS899,097.84.”

Parliament approved a recommendation by a five member committee which was set up in June 2019 by President Akufo-Addo, to him and to Parliament on the salaries and allowances First or Second Spouses.

The First Lady’s action comes on the back of the backlash government had received after it came to the fore that, a recommendation for the First and Second Ladies to receive monthly salaries had already been approved by Parliament.

Ghanaians were further livid because it was disclosed that, the First and Second Ladies will be receiving salaries equivalent to cabinet ministers.

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.

Two suits have already been filed at the Supreme Court to challenge the payments.

The opposition National Democratic Congress, as well as the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), have also served notice of going to court over the same issue.

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