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Togbe Afede on why he rejected ‘outrageous’ ex-gratia

BY: Isaac Yeboah
Togbe Afede XIV
Togbe Afede XIV

Businessman and Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV has shed light on why he returned to state coffers, an amount of GH¢365.392.67 paid to him as ex-gratia for his membership of the Council of State.

According the former President of the National House of Chiefs, he returned the money to the state because he “was very uncomfortable” with the payment and deemed it “inappropriate for a short, effectively part-time work,” for which he received a monthly salary and was entitled to other privileges.

In a statement he issued Monday to clarify his refund of the amount, Togbe Afede said the payment came to his notice while he was working on his tax returns towards the end of last year.

According to him, he received tax receipts from the Council of State Secretariat that indicated that some money was paid into his bank account in July, 2021 as "Ex Gratia".

He duly confirmed the payment of the amount but thought he not only did not deserve it, he also found it inappropriate per his personal principles, contrary to speculations that he returned it because he thought it was to set him up.

“I did not think the payment was made to trap me, as is being speculated. I believe it was paid to everybody who served on the Council of State. However. I thought that extra payment was inappropriate for a short, effectively part-time work, for which I received a monthly salary and was entitled to other privileges. So I was very uncomfortable with it.

“After weeks of trying. I obtained advice on how to refund inappropriate payments to the State, and on March 4, 2022, I made the refund into the Controller & Accountant General's Department Suspense Account at the Bank of Ghana.

“In my letter to the Secretary, Council of State. I stated that "It was a great honour for me to have served on the Council of State for four years, 2017 to 2020. Even though I served as chairman of one of the three (3) committees of the Council, the Economy and Special Development Initiatives Committee, and participated fully in the Council's activities, I do not think my work merited the payment to me of a colossal sum of GHC365.392.57 as Ex Gratia, in addition the salary I enjoyed from what was effectively a part time job".

“I want to add that my rejection of the payment was consistent with my general abhorrence of the payment of huge Ex Gratia and other outrageous benefits to people who have by their own volition offered to serve our poor country.”