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Back – to – Back: Kpebu to Mahama [Ex gratia saga]

Back - to - Back: Kpebu to Mahama [Ex gratia saga]

Legal practitioner Martin Kpebu has urged the public to demand accountability from public officials seeking to return to office regarding their fight against corruption, rather than just relying on legal rhetoric. Speaking on TV3’s Key Points on Saturday, March 4, Kpebu cited the case of Former President John Dramani Mahama, whom he called on to return the ex gratia payment made to him.

Kpebu argued that if Ghanaians only focus on the legalities and ask for evidence, they will not make progress in the fight against corruption since corruption is not done openly.

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Kpebu highlighted that corruption has grown significantly since Kwame Nkrumah’s time, when the government collected 10 percent from contractors and used it for building schools. Nowadays, people pocket the money instead of using it for public projects.

Kpebu, who urged Mahama to return his ex gratia payment as a sign of good faith, also accused him of making money while serving as President, and therefore, the payment he received is small compared to the amount he has made.

Mahama, who was unhappy with Kpebu’s comments, described them as silly while addressing supporters of the National Democratic Congress in the Volta region on Saturday, March 4. He had promised to cancel ex gratia payments for executives once he was elected in 2024.

In his response, Mahama said he had promised to cancel ex gratia payments for executives because the president is in charge of the executive. However, he said he would have to persuade other arms of government to agree to cancel the payment since it would be unfair to continue paying ex gratia to executives while ordinary workers did not receive it. Mahama argued that Kpebu’s suggestion that he refund all the ex gratia payments he had received in the past to show his commitment was silly because retroactive legislative cannot be passed according to Ghana’s constitution.

Kpebu’s call for accountability from public officials seeking to return to office is timely and necessary. Corruption is a significant problem in Ghana, and it is essential to demand transparency and accountability from leaders. While Mahama’s promise to cancel ex gratia payments for executives is laudable, it is equally important to ensure that all arms of government agree to its cancellation, and the money is put to better use.

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