A rift has broken out between Members of Ghana’s Parliament, the Ministry of Finance and the Auditor General’s Department over a report that said MPs emoluments were overpaid.
[contextly_sidebar id=”7CL6gRHLk1K8i2xZJFhCJjH08WbI5N6X”]Insiders have told Citi News that if the dispute is not immediately resolved it could “hold hostage” major businesses and bills pending before the House, as MPs “are very angry”.
The troubles started after the Auditor General reportedly wrote to the Ministry of Finance to notify the Minister, Seth Terkper, that Members of Parliament, especially those who served in the fifth Parliament, received payments far in excess of emoluments due them.
Citi News gathered that the Auditor General’s conclusions were based partly on what one MP called “a very misleading letter written” by former Chief of Staff, Henry Martey Newman, about emoluments due MPs.
Citi News also gathered that the alleged over payment resulted from the Controller and Accountant General’s alleged failure to make the necessary tax deductions from the monies paid to Members of the previous Parliament.
Our sources say the Auditor General has therefore requested the Ministry of Finance to take steps to offset the amounts overpaid each MP against the Member’s future monthly salary or emolument, a position that has provoked anger among the lawmakers.
However, the MPs are also claiming that they have been underpaid and are demanding further payments from the Ministry of Finance, sparking a stand-off.
A reliable source close to the situation has declined to discuss the true extent of the over-payment, except to say “it is remarkably colossal, considering the precarious cash flow problems presently facing the government.”
Another source said, “Part of the problem is that President John Mahama, unlike his predecessor, the late John Mills, has still not set up a committee to determine the conditions of service of MPs in line with article 71 of the Constitution.”
“As a result, as MPs we don’t know our conditions of service and this situation is unacceptable,” the source added.
“The President must do the right thing by setting up the committee urgently so that this issue can be resolved.”
Article 71 of the Constitution states that, the salaries and allowances of Parliamentarians, Auditor General, Electoral Commission Chair, among others “…Shall be determined by the President on the recommendations of a committee of not more than five persons appointed by the President, acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State.”
Sources say a joint delegation from both the Ministry of Finance and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department met top officials of Parliament on Wednesday in a desperate attempt to resolve the stand-off. It is unclear if the meeting resolved the stand-off.
On Thursday, the House sat for only a few minutes to correct Wednesday’s votes and proceedings after which Members moved into a closed sitting to discuss what one MP called welfare-related matters.