Second Lady Samira Bawumia to refund allowances

BY: Kweku Zurek
The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia
The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia

The Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia is to refund all allowances paid to her by the state since 2017.

Mrs Bawumia, the wife of Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia in a press release issued by her office said she will also not accept any monies allocated to her pursuant to the recommendations which were approved by Parliament.

"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," the release said.

"Mrs. Bawumia continues to be committed to the service of the nation; to deliver humanitarian interventions and initiatives in the areas of health, education and economic empowerment".

First Lady: Rebecca Akufo-Addo rejects allowances, will refund GH¢899k

Mrs Bawumia's decision comes hours after the First Lady Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo similarly rejected all allowances due her and decided to refund sums paid her by the state since 2017.

Background

Their actions come after a raging public debate over the Parliamentary approval of a recommendation for the First and Second Ladies to receive monthly salaries.

The recommendations were made by the five-member Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo to recommend salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 officeholders.

Lawsuits challenging allowances for presidential spouses

Meanwhile, two separate legal actions have been initiated at the Supreme Court challenging Parliament’s approval of salaries for the spouses of the President and the Vice President.

The first was filed by two National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament (MPs) — Mr Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor, South Dayi, and Dr Clement Apaak, Builsa South, while the second was filed by the Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Kwame Baffoe alias Abronye DC.

The legislators, who have been joined in the suit by one Frederick Nii Commey, are seeking eight reliefs from the Supreme Court. The plaintiffs are yet to file their statement of case explaining the basis of their case.

Former Prez Mahama rejects approval

Former President John Dramani Mahama has rejected the payment of monthly salaries for the First Lady and Second Lady describing the recommendation as "inappropriate" and its approval as "unfortunate".

The former President in an opinion shared on Facebook said the existing convention of providing spouses of both sitting and former Presidents and Vice Presidents with quarterly allowances should be maintained.

The practice he said started with the President Jerry John Rawlings Administration and “issues in respect of allowances of the spouses have largely been handled administratively and provided for under the budget of the Office of the President.”

“The spouses of the President and Vice President are not captured among Article 71 Office Holders and therefore there is no legal or constitutional basis for it”, he stated.

President Mahama said the practice has also included the payment of quarterly allowances to the surviving spouses of former Presidents, former Vice Presidents and former Heads of State. He explained that this practice has been appreciated by the beneficiaries as a token from the State.

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