In a letter to the Chief of Staff rejecting an audit verification to be conducted in order for the payment of the salary arrears, the Auditor General noted that the request of the FFMP is invalid and amounts to a conflict of interest because most of the beneficiaries will be members of the current administration, including the President and the Chief of Staff.
“The impression is being created that it is the [Chinery Hesse] committee and not the president who determines the emolument for the legislature,” he said.
Frema Osei Opare’s request was based on a letter from a group known as Forum for Former Members of Parliament (FFMP) led by Mr David Apasera, a former PNC MP for Bolgatanga Central in the Upper East Region requesting for the payment of the salary arrears, upon which the chief of staff then asked the Auditor-General to do an audit verification on the request.
The former MPs, some of whom left Parliament over 10 years ago, are requesting the payment of arrears of salaries and emoluments amounting to over GH¢29.7 million.
But the Auditor-General’s letter dated May 8, 2020, clearly indicated, “Apart from the fact that the claim from the FFMP is invalid because the CHC [Chinery Hesse Committee] report for 2005 to 2009 was rejected, it may also amount to an abuse of power or conflict of interest to make additional payment (20% salary increase per annum for four years) to former Members of Parliament (covering a period of 10 to 14 years ago) especially when some of them are now the executive.”
Mr Domelevo explained that because some of the MPs on the list for salary arrears are under investigation, it will not be right to pay any further monies to them.
“It is also public knowledge that some MPs were or are undergoing police investigations for receiving double salaries which implies overpayment but several of the names are included in the list for additional payment submitted by FFMPs per Office of the President letter dated 22nd April 2020,” the Auditor-General wrote. “It is my considered opinion that the Former MPs are not entitled to what they are asking for, but it also came to me as a big surprise that our honourable former MPs are making such a request at time of a pandemic which has taken the entire world by surprise.”
Ghana’s current Auditor-General has been in the news these past few years for defending his corner against “bullies” in the current administration. And every time, he seems to weather the storm well.
This time, however, when politicians from all sides are demanding public money, it is not clear who will defend Daniel Domelevo, the do-or-die Auditor-General.