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Here is your stone, Your Excellency: Ghanaians are indeed forgetful (II)

John Mahama Face Palm Former president John Dramani Mahama

Sun, 14 Nov 2021 Source: K. Badu

Somehow, a number of unattended national issues have reinforced former President Mahama’s somewhat sensational claim that Ghanaians are forgetful.

Typical examples are the shameful double salary NDC MPs case and Lordina Mahama’s immoral and gargantuan allowances which became ‘chewing sticks’ on the lips of Ghanaians for some time but ‘the forgetful’ Ghanaians have since turned a blind eye.

Following the conscious and commendable decisions by the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia to refund all the state sanctioned allowances they have received since January 2017 to the state in support of the effort to resuscitate the ‘Covid-asphyxiated’ economy, some concerned Ghanaians have been pleading with Mrs Lordina Mahama to take a cue from such a kind gesture and refund the alleged GH3 million she has received since January 2009.

Some concerned Ghanaians have been arguing consistently and forcefully that Ghana has more important pressing issues and therefore payment of allowances to the wife of a wealthy former president is a misplaced priority.

Given the huge allowances being enjoyed by the wife of former President Mahama, Mrs Lordina Mahama, it was quite unfair and unjust for the brassbound supporters of Mahama to give a bad name to the First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo with a view to hanging her over the allowances that were being paid to her.

We cannot deny or ignore the fact that former President Mahama had held various roles in the political scene, first as an assemblyman, then as a parliamentarian, a deputy minister, a substantive minister, a vice president, a stand-in president (following the sudden and mysterious death of President Mills in 2012), as an elected president of Ghana, and the 2016 and 2020 flagbearer of the opposition NDC.

In fact, no Ghanaian has received so much from the coffers of Ghana more than former President John Dramani Mahama and his wife Lordina Mahama.

The vineyard news had it that whilst in office, the salary of former President Mahama and the allowances of his spouse Lordina Mahama increased exponentially year by year.

So, it was quite hypocritical on the part of Mahama and his brassbound supporters to cast needless insinuations and aspersions on the incumbent First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo and the Second Lady, Mrs Samira Bawumia for receiving allowances since January 2017.

The unmeasured insinuations and aspersions which followed the Professor Yaa Ntiamoah-Baidu’s Committee’s recommendation to regularise the allowances of spouses of presidents and vice presidents necessitated the First Lady and the Second Lady’s decisions to refund all allowances since January 2017.

There are those who hold a view that Mrs Lordina Mahama should take a cue from Madam Rebecca Akufo-Addo and Mrs Samira Bawumia and refund all the allowances she has been receiving since January 2009.

It is being alleged that after taking over from the late President Mills in 2012, former President Mahama was initially taking home a monthly salary of GH¢15,972, whilst his wife Lordina was receiving a monthly allowance of GH¢11,500.

Former President Mahama’s monthly salary allegedly rocketed astronomically to GH¢22,464 and increased to GH¢24,710 in 2014.

The former president’s salary was said to have increased to GH¢27,181 in 2015 and by the time he left office in 2016, he was taking GH¢29,899.

At the same time, Mrs Lordina Mahama was allegedly taking a monthly allowance of GH¢17,073 in 2013, received GH¢18,780 in 2014, increased to GH¢20,658 in 2015 and took an amazing flight to GH¢ 22,724 before her husband left power in 2016 (credit: dailyguidenetwork.com, July 2021).

It is a known secret that before leaving office, former President Mahama constituted a Committee to deliberate and propose increments of the Article 71 officeholders emoluments to reflect the prevailing inflation.

The Committee chaired by Professor Edu-Buandoh duly recommended an annual increase of 2.4% up to 2017, backdated to 2013 for the persons listed under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution – which includes the President, the Vice President, the Speaker of Parliament and Legislators, Judges among others.

Upon Professor Edu-Buandoh Committee’s recommendations, former President John Dramani Mahama, who used to take home a non-taxable salary of GH¢15,972 at the beginning of his presidency, was pegged at a salary of GH¢22,809. This translates into a 42.8% pay rise over the four years (myjoyonline.com, 30/12/2016).”

The Prof. Edu-Buandoh’s report explained that the recommendations were based on “the committee’s guiding principles of fairness, equity, motivation and ability of government to pay.”

According to the report, while on retirement, former President John Dramani Mahama will receive other benefits such as state-provided staff not exceeding four, a furnished and up-to-date office and communication equipment.

The former president will also be provided with staff consisting of a cook, steward, gardener and two security persons.

The former president will also have the opportunity to embark on foreign trips with his wife and would be able to use the presidential jet.

Medical and dental services will be provided to him and his wife by the state as well.

Former President Mahama will be given a chauffeur, two vehicles maintained and comprehensively insured by the State and changed every four years for life.

Moreover, the state will fully pay for overseas official travels with his spouse and two security persons.

The report stated that the state will sponsor only two foreign travels per year – those not exceeding two weeks in duration – and the president and his wife are also entitled to free healthcare and other benefits, including the payment of utilities at his residence (dailyguideafrica, 28/12/2016).

Besides, the six staff at the Office of the former president Mahama are allegedly taking home a staggering total salary of GH¢688,488.00 at the end of every year (See: Mahama cries over salary after pocketing GH¢568,000,dailyguideafrica.com/ghanaweb.com, 26/07/2018).

Given all the profligate expenses, where is the justification for the hue and cry over the allowances that were being paid to the incumbent First Lady and the Second Lady?

It goes without saying that Mrs Lordina Mahama has been receiving allowances since January 2009(approximately 154 months).

If we do the arithmetic of the average monthly allowance of GH21,000 by 154 months will give us GH3.234 million.

Considering the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the naysayers, it is quite legitimate for Ghanaians to demand an immediate refund from Mrs. Lordina Mahama.

Columnist: K. Badu
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