The Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo has asked the Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare to ignore a request from the Forum of Former Members of Parliament (FFMP) for their salary arrears to be paid.
The former MPs, some of whom left Parliament over 10 years ago, are requesting the payment of arrears of salaries and emoluments amounting to over ¢29.7 million.
The Chief of Staff following a letter from the FFMP requesting the payment of salary arrears owed them, asked the Auditor-General to audit verification on the request.
But Mr Domelevo in response says he is unable to carry out the audit and asked the Chief of Staff, who is part of the MPs, to disregard the request.
“I wish to strongly advise that you ignore the request for additional payment being demanded by the FFMP because their argument that the request is based on recommendations of or lapses in the Chinery Hesse Committee (CHC) report is invalid.
“The impression is being created that it is the Committee and not the President who determines the emoluments for the legislature,” he added.
Mr Domelevo citing Article 71(1) of the Constitution said that law provides that the salaries and allowances payable, and the facilities and privileges available to the Legislature, Judiciary, Auditor-General and others “shall be determined by the President on the recommendations of a committee.”
The Auditor-General indicated that his understanding of the constitutional provision is that, the entitlements of the legislature are those approved by the President, no necessarily a committee.
He explained, “for instance, the report issued by the Prof Dora Edu-Buandoh’s committee (PDEBC) recommended salary levels lesser than what was approved, hence higher amounts were paid to almost all (if not all) article 70 officeholders in 2017.
“Again, the PDEBC’s report recommended a formula for the calculation of the ex-gratia which was replaced by another one. Going by Former MPs’ argument, can one then say that the Executive, Legislature, Judiciary and others were all overpaid in 2017 for the period 2013 to 2017 just because the approved emoluments and ex-gratia were higher than recommended by the Committee? Certainly no,” he added.
Mr Domelevo believes that apart from the fact that the claim by the FFMP is invalid because the CHC report for 2005 to 2009 was rejected, it may also amount to an abuse of power or conflict of interest to make additional “payment (20% salary increase per annum for four years) to former Members of Parliament (covering a period of 10 to 14 years ago) especially when some of them are now the executive,” Mr. Domelevo indicated in his letter.”