The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA) has described the decision by the First Lady to refund all monies paid to her in allowances since 2017, in line with recommendations made by the presidential committee on emoluments for Article 71 office-holders, as a mark of ingratitude.
Rebecca Akufo-Addo’s decision is coming on the back of the huge public outcry that has greeted government’s decision to put her and the Second Lady on monthly remuneration.
“I have sighted a letter purporting to be from the Office of the First Lady angrily claiming it is going to refund all allowances paid the first lady since 2017 because Ghanaians are talking too much about the recent recommendations by the Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee to pay first/second ladies the same salaries as cabinet ministers,” Mensah Thompson, the executive director of ASEPA, posted on Facebook.
He added: “First of all, apart from the tone of the letter being unnecessarily arrogant, this smacks a huge sense of INGRATITUDE from the first lady. This letter goes a long [way] to show how unaccommodating the first lady is to public criticisms.”
Thompson said if the First Lady cannot contain the outburst of the taxpayer then she should refund everything the state has done for her.
“Oya refund everything and from now on, don’t use anything that belongs to the taxpayer if you cannot contain the taxpayers’ outbursts.
“But once we continue to finance your living from head to toe, Auntie Becky we will talk papa, Hw3!!! Tax tua y3 ya papa,” he said.
Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Samira Bawumia have both said they are refunding all allowances paid to them since 2017 and will also not accept any monthly remuneration.
In a statement issued on Monday 12 July 2021, the Office of the First Lady said: “… the public discussion has been laced with some extremely negative opinions, in some cases, which she finds distasteful, seeking to portray her as a venal, self-serving and self-centered woman, who does not care about the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian.
“In view of this, the First Lady, in consultation with the President of the Republic, has decided to refund all monies paid to her as allowances from the date of the President’s assumption of office, ie, from January 2017 to date, amounting to GHC899,097.84.
“The First Lady has also decided not to accept any monies that have been allocated to be paid to her pursuant to the recommendations of the Ntiamoa-Baidu Committee, as approved by Parliament,” the statement signed by Korkor Bleboo, director of communications in the Office of the Second Lady, said.
Meanwhile, Bawumia is set to refund a total amount of eight hundred and eighty-seven thousand, four hundred and eighty-two (GHC 887,482) she has thus far received as allowances from January 2017 to March 2021.