Refund of allowance by First Lady good, but that isn’t the total amount – Ato Forson
The Minority Spokesperson on Finance says First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo owes the state far more than the amount of GH¢899,097.84 she has refunded.
Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, speaking to JoyNews’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo on Tuesday, said that although the First Lady’s decision to refund the money is in the right direction, the amount paid is not exhaustive. This is because the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) operated by Mrs Akufo-Addo receives financial support from the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).
For that reason, the First Lady should also refund the money received through the GNPC.
“We are aware that the First Lady for instance is operating an NGO or a foundation. That foundation gets money from GNPC for instance. That is the taxpayers’ money. So now that she has decided to refund the allowances, she’s to refund those ones as well because that is also taxpayers money and it is important we put that into perspective.
“So if you say taxpayers money or public funds, we don’t have to look at just the allowance, you have to look at entirely what they do and what actually benefits them and the organization they operate. Obviously, that organization may have engaged in a function, properly bought petrol and she may have sat in a car and it will mean that she has benefited. So if you are talking about taxpayers money entirely, what is due them, then you have to really discuss all of that,” he stated.
Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo earlier today refunded all allowances paid to her as First Lady of the Republic from the year 2017 to date as promised.
A letter addressed to the Chief of Staff, signed by Mrs Shirley Laryea of the Office of the First Lady stated, “I am directed to forward, herewith, a consolidated Bank Ghana Limited cheque number 000002 for an amount of GH¢899,097.84 (Eight hundred and ninety-nine thousand ninety-seven Ghana cedis eighty-four pesewas), being the full refund for monies received from 7th January 2017 to date, as allowances given to her Excellency the First Lady of the republic.”
Following the controversy surrounding the payment of emoluments to the spouses of the President and his Vice, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo in a July 12 statement, disclosed her intention to refund all monies paid to her as well as not accept any emoluments recommended by the Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee.
According to the First Lady, some of the reactions on the said matter are distasteful and seek to portray her as “a venal, self-serving and self-centred woman” who is insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians.
Meanwhile, Dr. Stephen Amoah, who is a member of Parliament’s Finance Committee has described as misplaced, calls by NDC MPs for the First Lady to refund an additional amount to the already GH¢899,097.84 released.
“Were those monies for her personal use. Is that what Ato Forson is saying? He is only doing politics. He should know that Ghana must move forward. Ghana is bigger than NPP and NDC. All the things we are talking about, they did most,” he said.
He commended the initiative of the First Lady to end the criticisms against her by taking a personal decision to refund allowances paid to her.
“This is a woman who has done so much for the country in the area of health. It is unprecedented. Just as Konadu Agyeman Rawlings did so much for rural women in the area of skill acquisition, one can’t say that probably, Naadu Mills and Lordina never did anything good,” he added.
Source: Ghana News