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12.02.2009 Politics

MPs confess approving Chinery-Hesse ex-gratia report

By myjoyonline
MPs confess approving Chinery-Hesse ex-gratia report

Members of Parliament have been forced to confess the controversial Chinery-Hesse Committee report on emoluments was duly signed and approved by the House.

When news of the lavish packages broke, accompanied by a huge public uproar, the MPs were playing 'hide-and-seek', with some claiming the report was never brought to Parliament at all.

However, with the decision by President Mills to cut down on the gratuity payable to the MPs, they have been forced in unison to own up.

They say the President has no right to review a decision taken by the independent institution of Parliament.

The MPs from both sides were believed to have held a closed-door meeting, on Thursday in which President Mills' action was thoroughly discussed.

Hon Opare Ansah who was part of the bipartisan meeting told Joy News President's move was arbitrary.

The decision, he said, amounted to usurping the sovereignty and authority of Parliament.

According to him, the leadership of parliament have been tasked to resolve the issue amicably with the President

Coup d'etat
In an interview to Joy News on Thursday, MP for Sene, Twumasi Appiah minced no words, insisting nobody has the right to review salaries approved by ex-President Kufuor, not even President Mills.

According to him, the decision by President Mills to review the salaries without recourse to the constitution is tantamount to a coup d'etat.

He advised the President to amend article 71 of the constitution which mandated the proposal of the Chinery-Hesse Committee before proceeding to review their salaries.

Peanuts
Whilst condemning the President's move, the MPs say the package proposed by the Chinery-Hesse Committee report is not any huge after all.

They argue, with the huge expenditure imposed on them as MPs, the amount proposed is “peanut.”

They explain the salary they receive is spent on their constituents who depend on them, for their school fees, hospital bills and even chop money.

“The money I received as civil servant was small but I lived a comfortable life. One of them lamented.”

“Those who are talking, let them try and campaign and they will know the amount of money involved,” another challenged critics.

To the extent that the President has been benefiting from this committee report since 2005, in view of his previous position as a vice-president, one of the MPs described his action as populist and hypocritical.

Story by Nathan Gadugah

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