Is Lordina Mahama still grabbing the allowances?

New Lordina Mahama Former First Lady, Lordina Mahama

Mon, 16 Aug 2021 Source: Kwaku Badu

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.

It is worth emphasizing that the Government of Ghana, without any liability or legal obligation whatsoever, decided in 2001 to hand out allowances to the spouses of presidents and vice presidents.

It was in that light that all the Committees constituted since 1993 to recommend the Article 71 officeholders emoluments have asked the various governments to formalize the furtive payments to the spouses of presidents and vice presidents.

The Article 71 officeholders emoluments are drawn on the Consolidated Fund on recommendations of a committee set up by the sitting president acting in accordance with the advice of the Council of State (Ghana 1992).

It was against that backdrop that President Akufo-Addo dutifully constituted a Committee in 2019 to deliberate and propose increments of the Article 71 officeholders emoluments to reflect the prevailing inflation.

The Committee chaired by Professor Yaa Ntiamoah Baidu recommended that the furtive payments being made to the spouses of presidents and vice presidents are regularised.

As it was expected, the apparent unfamiliar recommendation generated public discourse amid needless insinuations and aspersions.

It was, therefore, not the least surprising at all, when the First Lady, Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo, and the Second Lady, Mrs. Samira Bawumia took a carefully considered decision and refunded all the allowances paid to them since January 2017.

Some concerned Ghanaians, however, 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.

The concerned Ghanaians may have a valid point after all for contending that the spouse of former President Mahama, Lordina Mahama, for instance, is not an Article 71 office holder as prescribes by the 1992 Constitution and therefore does not deserve any salaries or allowances.

It is being alleged that whilst in office, the salary of former President Mahama and the allowances of his spouse Lordina Mahama increased exponentially over time.

Given the circumstances, it is quite hypocritical on the part of Mahama and his teeming 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.

Credible sources have it that when her husband took over from the late President Mills in 2012, she was receiving a monthly allowance of GH¢11,500.

The vineyard news had it that Mrs. Lordina Mahama’s monthly allowance allegedly rocketed astronomically to 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).

Given the huge allowances being enjoyed by the wife of former President Mahama, Mrs. Lordina Mahama, it is 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.

The fact of the matter is that Mrs. Lordina Mahama has been receiving allowances since January 2009 (approximately 150 months).

If we do the arithmetic of the average monthly allowance of GH¢21,000 by 150 months will give us GH¢3.150 million.

Given the dishonesty and hypocrisy of the naysayers, it is quite legitimate for concerned Ghanaians to beseech Mrs. Lordina Mahama to stop receiving the allowances and refund what she has already received since January 2009.

Columnist: Kwaku Badu