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Ex-gratia has outlived its purpose – Speaker of Parliament

Mr. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, Speaker of Parliament, has called for the scrapping of the payment of ex-gratia to parliamentarians and government appointees, saying, that initiative has outlived its relevance. 

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He noted that the ex-gratia initiative under article 71, was introduced to help curb or reduce corruption amongst public officials and political officers, but it had rather worsened the situation. 

Corruption, he pointed out, had continued to spread out amongst political holders and public officers in the current democratic dispensation and, his stance was to remove it without any impediments. 

Speaking at a public forum in Kumasi as part of activities marking the 30th anniversary of the 4th Republic, Mr Bagbin said he was ever ready to support the amendment of Article 71 of the Constitution to abolish ex-gratia payments to public officials. 

The theme for the anniversary is “Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: The journey this far.” 

The forum was to provide an opportunity for parliament to analyse its achievements, acknowledge challenges and recount the principles of democracy, justice and equality that have guided the nation over the thirty years. 

It was also to serve as a reminder of the process made in the past three decades and the need to continue to strengthen democratic institutions and processes. 

Mr Babgin indicated that initial payments of ex-gratia were to ensure that the needs of political office holders were taken care of after leaving active service, but these gratuities had not curbed inducements and corruptions. 

He said the public needed to understand that the gratuities called ex-gratia were not only considered for Parliamentarians but involved public servants too.

“There’s a difference between ex gratia and gratuity and it’s not for members of parliament alone. 

It cuts through a category of public servants and political officeholders, including auditor general, including the chairpersons of all the constitutional commissions, including ministers of state, the presidency, judiciary, and all others, it’s not just members of parliament.” he stressed  

In practice, he said, it had not served its purpose and that he totally agreed with anybody who came to say that we should do away with Article 71 of the Constitution.

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