Seasoned Journalist, Kwesi Pratt Jnr. has slammed Prof. Yaa Ntiamoa-Badu Committee for including the payment of salaries to President and Vice President’s wives in their recommendations after looking into the emoluments of Article 71 office holders.
The payment of salaries to the President and Veep’s wives has become a bone of contention in the country with some critics condemning the act and others praising the move.
To some Ghanaians, there is no need for the wives of the First and Second Gentlemen to receive monthly salaries, especially looking at the ravages of the Coronavirus pandemic on the nation.
The Bono Regional Chairman of the ruling New Patriotic Party, Kwame Baffoe a.k.a Abronye and NDC Member of Parliament for Ningo Prampram, Sam George have all kicked against the decision.
Abronye DC has filed a law suit at the Supreme Court to quash the decision
He argues that the payment of the salaries is a breach of Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution.
Touching on the issue, Kwesi Pratt sided with the critics against the salary payment.
Speaking on Peace FM’s ‘Kokrokoo’ programme, Mr. Pratt claimed the Committee had no mandate to formalize the allowances paid to First and Second Ladies which then makes it mandatory to pay salaries to them.
He agreed with Abronye DC, Sam George and the likes of them who argue that the Committee infracted the laws.
” . . those salaries, monthly salaries equivalent to the salaries of cabinet Ministers is totally illegal. It’s unconstitutional . . . When you read our 1992 Constitution, it shows those who are Article 71 office holders. The Article 71 office holders doesn’t include First and Second Ladies. So, if any person pays anything to them on the basis that they are Article 71 office holders, it’s a breach of the law,” he said.
He further stressed; “The mandate of the Committee was to look at the emoluments of Article 71 holders, so what was their mandate in looking for emoluments for First and Second Ladies? They had no mandate . . . this Committee has no mandate to make that decision, says the constitution.”
Mr. Pratt emphasized that, “it is unconstitutional to treat them as Article 71 holders”.
Per the Constitution, Article 71 office holders only include the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice and Justices of the Supreme Court. The rest are Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.