Samira rejects new emoluments; pledges to refund allowances paid her since 2017

The Second Lady, Mrs. Samira Bawumia, has also rejected the new emoluments approved for her by Parliament and has also promised to refund all allowances paid to her since 2017.

“The Second Lady, H.E. Samira Bawumia in consultation with H.E. the Vice President, will refund all allowances paid to her since 2017, and will not accept any monies allocated to her pursuant to the recommendations of the Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu led committee, as approved by Parliament on 6th January 2021,” a statement signed by Kwame Twum, Senior Aide to the Second Lady announced.

This comes a day after the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo rejected the emoluments allotted to her.

The First Lady has also promised to refund the GHS899,097.84 she received over the period.

Background

The government has come under fire 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.

Lawsuits against allowances for presidential spouses

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.

Attempts to sneak 1st & 2nd Ladies under Article 71 officeholders problematic’ – Mahama

Former President, John Dramani Mahama, had earlier voiced out his opposition to the way the Akufo-Addo government is handling emoluments for spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice Presidents.

In a statement, Mr. Mahama suggested that the Akufo-Addo government is attempting to “sneak the First and Second Ladies into the article 71 office holders’ group”, saying “This is clearly problematic.”

Mr. Mahama argued further that the new emoluments are tantamount to altering an entrenched clause in the constitution without due process.

“Article 71 is an entrenched clause in the 1992 Constitution, and nothing short of a referendum can be used to amend or vary that clause as per article 290 of the Constitution,” he explained.

“The Committee, and indeed the government, cannot use a short-cut to circumvent well laid-out constitutional rules,” added.

Presidential spouses have no defined roles; they can’t be paid salaries – TUC

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), also rejected the Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee’s recommendation for wives of Presidents and Vice Presidents to be paid monthly salaries.

The group insisted that the spouses have not been assigned any specific roles in the constitution and “therefore, they are not qualified to receive salaries from the public purse.”

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