A former member of the Council of State, Togbe Afede XIV, has expressed his disappointment with the comments of Good Evening Ghana host, Paul Adom-Otchere, on his conduct as a member of the Council.
According to the traditional ruler, the claims by the ace broadcaster on the number of times he attended meetings as a member of the Council of State, are not true.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with JoyNews’ Maxwell Agbagba on Thursday, Togbe Afede explained that contrary to Paul’s claims, he was ‘one of the active participants’ in the Council of State, during his period of service.
He also revealed that even though he was alarmed by Paul’s remarks, he is not surprised because Paul did a similar thing in the past.
“He knew me very well. [So it’s] surprising that he of all people, and I don’t want to go into details; will be the one to criticise me. But why am I not surprised? Because he had done something similar before. When I was fighting Agyapa, he granted an interview to the Minister of Finance and sought to denigrate me even in that interview.
By suggesting that I was an employee of Ken-Ofori Atta. When I drew his attention, he apologised that no, no, he knew I was a founder of Data Bank. I said, so why then do you present it as if I was an employee of Ken Ofori-Atta? Again, when we were having a debate about the referendum, that had to be aborted, he again tried to criticise me” Togbe Afede explained.
The Paramount Chief of the Asogli Traditional Area, Togbe Afede further intimated that, “It’s a surprise that he of all people. When I say he of all people, he’ll know why I’m saying I didn’t expect that from he of all people. But unfortunately, some people live by their stomachs in the kind of things that they do. So given my recent experience, I’ll say I’m not too surprised”.
During an editorial on Good Evening Ghana on Tuesday, Mr. Adom-Otchere alleged that based on facts available to him, the Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State and former President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede attended only 16% of meetings during his tenure as a member of the Council of State.
Paul Adom-Otchere, said out of the total of 242 meetings of the Council during the period, the Paramount Chief honoured only 48 of those meetings; representing 16%.
The veteran broadcaster made this disclosure while expressing his views on why Togbe Afede returned the ex-gratia which was paid to him.
In his opinion, even though the move has been hailed on social media as a patriotic gesture, he does not understand the essence of the praises which were showered on the traditional leader.
According to Mr. Adom-Otchere, the payment of ex-gratia to Article 71 office holders is captured in the 1992 Constitution, and therefore it was mischievous for Togbe Afede to have returned his, in a manner that seemingly portrayed him as incorruptible.
As result, the Good Evening Ghana host criticised Togbe Afede and urged the public to desist from praising him since the refund of his ex-gratia does not put him on any ‘moral high ground’.
But in his reactions in an exclusive interview with JoyNews, Togbe Afede emphasised that he was not comfortable with the ¢365,000 extra-gratia which was paid to him for serving on the Council of State between 2017 and 2020.
In offering his clarification, he stressed that while working on the Council, he was given his monthly salary and other privileges and therefore the ex-gratia was not necessary.
Togbe Afede added that, working on the Council of State is largely a part-time job, which should not be accompanied by such huge end of service sums.
Meanwhile, the Asogli State Council has also dismissed Paul Adom-Otchere’s claims.
In a letter written in response to comments by Mr Adom-Otchere on Wednesday, the Asogli State Council emphasised that Paul lied about the number of times the traditional leader attended meetings while serving on the Council.
The letter also debunked claims about some monies Togbe Afede had allegedly received while at post on the Council.
The letter, which was titled: ‘Paul Adom-Otchere lied’, reads as follows:
“Our attention has been drawn to comments and allegations made by one Paul Adom Otchere in his Good Evening Ghana programme on Metro TV on June 7, 2022 during his discussion of Togbe Afede XIV’s rejection of Ex Gratia payment made to him.
We ordinarily would not respond to comments from Paul Adom-Otchere, knowing who he is. But while we ponder a more suitable reaction, specific allegations he made cannot be ignored:
1. The numbers Paul Adom-Otchere presented on Togbe’s attendance at meetings of the Council of State are both incorrect and misleading, and are a disingenuous attempt to discredit Togbe’s performance at the Council. We challenge him to provide the Council’s attendance register from which he compiled his numbers for all to know the truth”.
In their explanation, the Asogli State continued: “The Council had three committees, one of which Togbe chaired, the Economy and Special Development Initiatives Committee. And Togbe had an excellent plenary meeting attendance record”.
The letter further stated that:
“2. Togbe did not take a loan from Government. SG Bank offered commercial loans to Council members, which Togbe has fully repaid.
3. Togbe presented himself as a resident of Accra and did not claim any transport allowances from the Council.
4. Togbe did not say the Ex Gratia payments were illegal. He believes part-time work by our senior citizens should not merit Ex Gratia payment by our poor country.
5. Finally, Togbe’s rejection of the Ex Gratia payment is not a partisan political matter”.
It will be recalled that social media users showered accolades on the Paramount Chief and Agbogbomefia of Asogli, Togbe Afede XIV, for rejecting over ¢365,000 ex-gratia paid to him for serving on the Council of State between 2017 and 2020.
The netizens praised him for protecting the public purse and thinking of the growth and development of the country.
Classifying him as a “man of integrity,” the tweethearts urged other public office holders to follow in the steps of the Paramount Chief.
In a statement on Monday explaining why he refunded the “outrageous” amount, Togbe Afede XIV said it is not appropriate to receive the said amount when he already took monthly salaries for serving on the Council.
He provided these clarifications after members of the public reacted to news of whether or not he indeed followed through with his supposed refund and the rationale behind it.
“I did not think the payment was made to trap me, as is being speculated. I believe it was paid to everybody who served on the Council of State. However, I thought that extra payment was inappropriate for a short, effectively part-time work, for which I received a monthly salary and was entitled to other privileges. So, I was very uncomfortable with it”, he added.
It is on the back of this that social media was buzzing, commending the traditional leader.
But in an editorial on Tuesday evening, Mr Adom-Otchere described the Paramount Chief’s conduct as populist and unnecessary.
In his view, Togbe Afede was posturing as a patriotic fellow in a rather disingenuous way, since the payment of ex-gratia to former Council of State members is constitutionally mandatory.
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