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27.02.2007 General News

Ex-MPs threaten court action over outstanding entitlements

By myjoyonline

Former Members of Parliament are threatening to go to court over the non-payment of their entitlements since the dissolution of the last Parliament.

The MPs said they were even outraged at the attitude shown by the Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani when they held a meeting with him over the matter.

The former MPs are contesting their exclusion from the Chinnery-Hesse report which recently fixed salaries and other benefits for their colleagues currently in Parliament and other public office holders.

President Kufuor set up the Chinnery-Hesse Committee in October 2004 based on Article 71 which mandates him to put together such a Committee to determine the entitlements of the MPs, the Speaker and other public office holders.

According to the MPs, the delay in the setting up of the committee compelled them to stay on allowances for the four-year Parliamentary term got payment on account pending the committee's report.

At least 80 former MPs and an unspecified number of sitting MPs are fighting the cause.

Some of the former legislators told Joy News they are surprised that the Chinnery-Hesse Committee's report is silent on what they are entitled to whilst it is explicit on the 2005-2008 group. According to them, it is increasingly becoming clear that government is not willing to pay them their entitlements and so the best place to fight it is the courts.

Some of the MPs, both former and sitting, told Joy News they are currently consulting lawyers and will soon file a case in court.

Meanwhile the Director of Public Affairs of Parliament, Jones Kugblenu says the concerns of the MPs have not yet come to the attention of the House even though he said there was a meeting of some former MPs in Parliament on Monday but was not privy to the issues discussed.