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How Mahama used Free SHS fees to explain why he can’t pay back ‘spent’ ex-gratia

Former president John Dramani Mahama has dismissed calls to return emoluments previously paid him, days after he promised to scarp the existing emolument structure for Article 71 Office Holders when he comes back to power in 2025.

A number of ruling party members and pro-government critics have challenged Mahama to return all monies he has received in lieu of ex-gratia payments to show his commitment to scrapping the payments.

Mahama in responding to some of his critics, used a flagship government policy to illustrate why it was not sensible to demand that he repays emoluments received.

Speaking with some members of the National Democratic Congress in the Ketu South District of the Volta Region, days after formally launching his NDC flagbearership campaign, Mahama lamented how a lawyer (one of the critics he was addressing) will fail to recognize the principle of no retroactivity in law.

“And then somebody who should know better, a lawyer, he said then I should refund all the ex-gratia we took before to show that we are serious about cancelling it.

“He does not even know the principle in our constitution that says you cannot pass retroactive legislation. If you pass legislation today, it does not affect what happened in the past.

Then he introduce the Free SHS analogy: “And what he says is a bit silly because it’s like saying that because we’ve introduced free SHS all of us should go and get a refund of our school fees that we paid in the past.

“That is how silly what he is saying is. And so they should state what their position is, are they in favour of ex-gratia? Or they agree with us that we should cancel it?

“We are saying 2025 when we come, we will cancel ex-gratia,” the former president stressed.

While Mr Mahama’s promise to cancel ex-gratia has largely been received by members of the public, his biggest critics including members of the ruling New Patriotic Party have questioned his integrity and motive for making such promise.

Some of his critics have thus dared the former president to return all emoluments he has received over the years as proof his commitment to his promise to scrap ex-gratia.





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