I have your read your report on the Newsfile discussion of Saturday May 22, 2010 on the ‘overpayment and underpayment of ex-gratia’ to former MPs and former Ministers of State, as posted on www.myjoyonline.com.

I do wish to submit that the focus of your report and the suggestion that all I contributed to the discussion was to blame the Daily Graphic, and going further to say that it was the Daily Graphic that ‘indicted’ the Minority Leader and others is a complete misrepresentation and false.

When I was given the opportunity by the host, Kwaku Sakyi-Addo, I took my colleague panellists and listeners through the Auditor General’s report, explaining that this was not an NDC-NPP matter and what occasioned the underpayment to some former ministers who were also MPs, why 176 MPs were overpaid and the double payment of installation and resettlement grants to 5 former ministers who were also MPs and noting that these 5 former ministers including the Minority Leader were also underpaid their End of Service Benefits.

I also proceeded to explain that the politicisation of this matter and the Minority’s statement blaming government of deliberately chastising their leader because of some press conference they held is because of a Daily Graphic report which chose to focus or lead their story with the recommendation that requested that the Minority Leader and 4 others refund their overpayment.

In the course of the above explanation, Malik Kwaku Baako of the New Crusading Guide interjected that it was mischief, and I responded that if it was mischief “then it is mischief for Graphic” and not government.

I am not sure if that represents me blaming the Daily Graphic or asking that they should be held accountable for indicting the Minority Leader.

As journalists, we do know that various media houses will choose an angle to their stories and while some may have chosen to focus on the NDC members among the 176 MPs, someone will have chosen the 54 who were underpaid. That is what informed my position that it was the Daily Graphic that chose to focus on the five and not government as had been suggested by the NPP Minority.

In anycase, the same Daily Graphic report devoted at least four (4) paragraphs to the reaction of Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, the Minority Leader, and also reported in the other paragraphs about the other group of MPs who were underpaid and overpaid.

To proceed in the manner that you did to engage in this misrepresentation of my statement is most unfortunate, especially when you chose to ignore the explanation of the issue of underpayment and overpayment so your readers will appreciate and understand what occasioned these payments.

I am wondering whether my statement that the Daily Graphic “chose to focus on the five NPP ministers who were also MPs, rather than say the 174 MPs” represents accurately your claim that I said the Daily Graphic should be blamed or held accountable for ‘indicting’ the Minority Leader.

I urge you to publish my rejoinder and correct the misrepresentation of my statements on the Newsfile programme.

Stanislav Xoese DOGBE
Presidential Aide & Member,
Government Communication Team.