'Viewed narrowly you can accuse us of taking double salaries but…' - Haruna Iddrisu
The Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu says the double salary accusations against former government officials can only be legitimate if viewed from a narrow perspective.
However, a holistic investigation of the scandal will point to discrepancies which should not warrant criminal investigations, he stated.
He was speaking to Joy News’ Evans Mensah on the criminal investigations triggered by the Police CID on the alleged receipt of double salaries by some former government appointees.
Haruna Iddrisu is one of nine former government officials accused of taking double salaries.
He explained that as Article 71 office holders, they are paid salary advance in lieu of the determination of the presidential emoluments committee.
When the committee finally decides the amount they should earn as salaries at the end of their tenure, an amount is deducted from their ex-gratia if they have been overpaid or given a top-up in their ex-gratia if they were underpaid.
He said the accusation of double salaries will hold if only “current ministers and MPs will not tomorrow accept any addition to what is being paid them today as salary advance.”
“That will be interesting and intriguing for us as a Republic. It means tomorrow when President Nana Akufo-Addo finally sets up this committee, the committee will make recommendations which will in most instances occasion them receiving salary arrears which will affect even payment of their gratuity and ex-gratia.
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“So viewed narrowly you can say that Ministers of state and MPs are involved in double claims,” he said.
But the allegation goes beyond discrepancies in payments.
A lawyer and member of the New Patriotic Party communications team Gary Nimako alleged that some of the accused ex-officials have been cited for taking salaries as MPs and as ministers and cannot claim ignorance of receiving double salaries.
“There is a cause for concern and there is a question to answer. The Parliamentary Service, they pay the MPs and the Accountant General pays the Ministers and their deputies,” he stated on Newsfile.
According to him from 2013 to 2016 some MPs cum ministers under the John Mahama administration took monies as salaries for the position of MPs and Ministers at the same time.
“Some of them even took double salaries as MPs and Ministers,” he alleged further.
He discounted claims by the ex-government officials that they did not know they were taking double salaries.
“The fact of some people saying that we did not know that we were receiving double money is not correct… There is a source for every money you receive. If for instance you are an MP and you take MP salary of X amount, and you have been appointed as a minister, clearly you do not have to take the MP salary again,” he argued.
But Haruna Iddrisu insists claims of double salary did not happen in his case but admitted there may be likely cases of overpayment to some ex-government officials because of the systemic failures.
Citing himself as an example, he said he was entitled to an amount of 311,000 as gratuity but received an amount of 290,000 cedis after deductions were made.
He challenged the Auditor and Accountant General to speak to the issues and reconcile all discrepancies in payroll.
He has also asked his colleagues to investigate allegations of double receipt of ex-gratia but was unequivocal that government has no right criminalize any such investigation.