The Member of Parliament for Asikuma Odoben Brakwa, P. C. Appiah Ofori says he intends to go to court to challenge the “secret approval of obscene bill of privileges” for former presidents.

He said the provisions in the bills were outrageous and defied logical reasoning.
According to him, the first time he heard of parliamentary approval of the infamous Chinery Hesse Committee Report on retirement benefits for former Presidents of Ghana, was on Monday, January 19, 2009.

He told the media the report did not go through parliamentary approval and therefore was illegal.

The anti-corruption campaigner contended the bill could not have been passed on January as was being suggested because he stayed in the house throughout that day and never saw such a bill.

The Commission recommended mat the former Presidents should be provided with 6 fuelled and chauffer-driven vehicles to be replaced every four years, offices and Residences in and out of the nation’s capital, three professional and personal assistants, non-taxable ex-gratia awards plus Pension benefits, entertainment at the expense of the state and one million seed money for a foundation.

On January 6, the Clerk to Parliament, Emmanuel Anyimadu forwarded the report to Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, the former Chief of Staff to take action on the approved report.

The letter read: “At the Thirtieth sitting of the Third Meeting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic held on Tuesday, 6th January 2009, Parliament approved the Report of the Presidential Committee on Emolument (Chinery Hesse Committee) subject to some recommendations for the future.”

I hereby forward to you for further consideration the Review Report on facilities and privileges for Constitutional Office Holders under Article 71 of the Constitution.”

Hon. Appiah Ofori maintained that it was fraudulent to make claims that the report which was compiled by a Committee chaired by Mrs Chinery Hesse, an Advisor to former President Kufuor has been approved.

“There was nothing like that in Parliament, it is perpetration of fraud, go to Parliament and check the hansard. I vehemently oppose it, what kind of nonsense is that. I am prepared to go to court on that,” he said.

Sounding angry, Mr Ofori said “Ghana belongs to all of us and we should not sit down unconcerned for some few people to destroy it for the younger ones to come and suffer.”

The former Member of Parliament for the Jomoro constituency in Western region, Mr. Lee Ocran described the emolument package as outrageous and should be disregarded by well meaning Ghanaians.

“It never came to Parliament, we never saw any document, we never discussed any document. all that we talked about was the Entitlements of members of the House, we have never seen any Chinery Hesse report,” he insisted.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu with additional files from The Chronicle