I will sell whatever I have to refund the ‘double salary’ if 'guilty' - Bagbin assures
Mr. Alban Bagbin has declared his readiness to sell off all he has to refund all monies he may have been ‘overpaid’ as a former minister and a Member of Parliament should investigations establish the allegations of double salary against him.
The MP for Nadowli Kaleo and other former government officials under the John Mahama administration have been accused of receiving double salaries, something the Police CID is treating as a criminal offence.
The alleged action, according to the Police, is contrary to Section 124 (1) of the Criminal and other Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) as amended in 2012 (Act 849), which relates to the offence of stealing.
Already, some of the affected officials have been invited and interrogated by the Police CID. They have since been given Police bail.
Speaking on the matter for the first time in an interview with Media General’s Kwakye Afreh-Nuamah Tuesday, Mr. Bagbin watered down the issue and explained they can’t be said to have received double salary.
He argued at best, the issue at hand should be overpayment as he tried to water down the allegation of double salary, and even that, “I have myself gone through the payments and very, very, difficult to determine as to what is the overpayment”.
Notwithstanding, Mr. Bagbin who is aspiring to become the flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress said the former government officials mentioned in the alleged double salary issue are cooperating with the Police CID.
“We’re working on it and cooperating with the CID to come out with the report and for the institutions of state to take the necessary action. We wont run away from justice but truly it is really bad governance.
“If it’s finally determined that I have been overpaid, I will definitely refund it…even if it means that I will sell whatever I have to refund it I will do it,” he assured Ghanaians.
The allegations of double salary, he said, has caused him great embarrassment and affected his reputation.
“Very! Not just embarrassed [but] hurt; very hurt that for 26 good years that I wholeheartedly served this nation I must say with distinction,” he said.
Politicisation of corruption
He said it was “really sad” that there is too much politicisation of corruption in the country, which he observed, was becoming a challenge to fighting corruption.
In his view, once it takes a long time for Article 71 officer holders to know their salaries, it will be out of place for anyone to conclude whatever monies the former government officials were overpaid constituted double salary.
“It takes a long time for office holders of Article 71 to know their salaries. As at today, the seventh parliament of the republic of Ghana together with the members of the executive and other office holders do not know their salaries,” he stated.
He said he was surprised that the whole issue was being viewed as double salary, indicating it is not the first time such thing has happened.
“…What is surprising is that this is not the first time. It has come out a number of times even in 2009; this thing was identified again,” he said.
When it was detected, he said, the late John Mills tasked the Auditor General to carry out an audit.
“This auditing was done, it was discovered that some ministers of that [previous] regime were also overpaid. It was not double payment or double salary; it was overpaid,” he emphasised.
The President then notified the Speaker of Parliament to draw the attention of those MPs and ministers to refund the overpayment, he said, noting they were given ample time to refund.
“They are now in power today; they have discovered the same thing and then they have decided that we should be sent to the CID and that’s one of the problems we have in this country,” he said in reference to the current administration.
All the same, he said, they will not run away from justice and will see through the case to the end.