A former Chief Executive Officer of Ghana’s Volta River Authority, Charles Wereko-Brobbey, has written to the Speaker of Parliament asking for clarity on reports of emoluments for spouses of sitting and former Presidents and Vice Presidents.
In the letter, he asked the Speaker of Parliament to confirm or refute such reports.
“If indeed Parliament has approved such payments, I would be grateful if you could educate me as to the legal authority that underpins Parliament’s action,” Mr. Wereko-Brobbey said.
Speaking in an interview, he reiterated his concerns, saying, “what we need to know is what did the House approve and what is the basis for approving it.”
Mr. Wereko-Brobbey further stressed that he was against the recommended emoluments for the presidential spouses, describing it as insensitive and mind-boggling.
“What is so special about a First Lady? They are not in an elected office. They are not an appointee under Article 71.”
He also took issue with the fact that the emoluments would not be constitutional.
“If we are going to do all these things, let’s make it constitutional. The spouse is not an appointee,” he said.
The recommended emoluments
The emoluments were part of recommendations by the five-member Professor Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu set up in June 2019 by President Nana Akufo-Addo to make recommendations on the salaries and other gratuities of Article 71 officeholders.
Per the recommended emoluments, the spouse of the President is to be entitled to the payment of a salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister MP while in office.
After leaving office, they will be entitled to a salary equivalent to 80 percent of the salary of a Minister of State-MP if the spouse served one full term as President or 100 percent of the salary of a Minister of State-MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as President.
For the spouse of the Vice President, they will be entitled to payment of salary equivalent to a Cabinet Minister non-MP when in office.
After leaving office, the spouse of the Vice President will be entitled to a salary equivalent to 80 percent of the salary of a Minister of State non-MP if the spouse served one full term as the Vice President or 100 percent of the salary of a Minister of State non-MP if the spouse served two or more full terms as Vice President.
These emoluments have since become the subject of controversy and two lawsuits at the Supreme Court.
The South Dayi MP, Rockson Dafeamakpor and Builsa South MP, Clement Apaak jointly filed the suit to challenge the Presidential Spouse Emoluments.
The Bono Regional Chairman of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwame Baffoe Abronye, has also prayed the apex court to rule that the Presidential Spouse Emoluments is null and void.