GBA Chairman mulls legal action over ‘unconscionable' ex gratia for MPs

The Brong Ahafo Regional Chairman of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA) is seeking an interpretation of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution that grants end of service benefits to a certain category of public sector workers.

Alfred Tuah Yeboah says it has become necessary for the Supreme Court to clarify whether Members of Parliament (MPs) should be paid retiring benefits every four years.

Under the current arrangement, retiring Supreme Court and High Court judges, the President, the Vice President, outgoing ministers and MPs are paid a lump sum as retiring packages, or ex gratia, but for the MPs, such monies are paid out every four years at the expiration of a parliamentary session.

Mr Tuah Yeboah tells Joy News’ Elton John Brobbey the current arrangement is not reasonable.

“If you are an MP and you take your ex gratia, then it means you are out of Parliament, that’s the essence of retirement. Who in Ghana has gone on retirement three, four or six times?

“If that was the intention of Article 71, that will mean that all Superior Court judges will have to retire every four years, take their benefit and come back. 

“A judge will take a retirement benefit when he gets to his retirement time – either he is 65 or 70 years. But for MPs every four years they take. I think it is unconscionable,” he told Joy News.

The development, he said, conflicts with the rationale behind the provisions of Article 71.

“I think there is a need for interpretation of Article 71,” he stressed.

However, MP for Keta, Richard Quarshiga, says legislators deserve even more than the ex gratia due to the workload on them.

“One thing that people should also be mindful of is the number of peripheral functions which are very much outside the confines of the Member of Parliament. Even this morning I have done some mobile money for some people,” he told Elton.

He said some of his colleagues have borrowed monies on the unknown ex gratia to take care people in their constituencies.

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