The Minister of Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu has explained it is possible for MPs and Ministers to receive double payment for salary and ex-gratia but insisted the recipients have a responsibility to help correct the anomaly. Using himself as an example, he said he received double payment for ex-gratia in 2009 as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister of State.
But he added, he returned the second cheque from the Castle [Presidency] which was given to him days after he had received a similar payment from Parliament.
The Minority in Parliament has accused President Akufo-Addo of using the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to harass them over trumped-up charges related to the taking of double salaries by some ministers under the erstwhile Mahama administration.
The CID has reportedly begun a probe of former government officials accused of drawing double salaries and has already issued invites to some of them.
In a radio interview with Accra based Okay FM, Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu explained that when he was made a Minister of State in the latter part of President Kufuor’s administration, he opted to continue to receive his salary from Parliament since the difference with what he would have received from the Castle [Presidency] was just about Gh¢100.
He said in 2009 when the NPP exited power and their ex-gratia were paid, he received a phone call from the Castle, that his cheque for his ex-gratia was ready, but they didn’t have his bank details at the Presidency so what should they do with it.
He said the caller wanted him to provide his bank details so the cheque could be deposited but suspecting there was an error since he had already received a similar payment from Parliament, he requested that the cheque should be personally brought to him in Parliament.
According to him, when he received the cheque, he made a photocopy for reference and returned it with the explanation that he had already received payment from Parliament and that the second cheque was a mistake.
Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu gave the explanation in the radio interview as part of a public education on the ongoing CID investigations that some former ministers in the NDC administration received double salary as well as double ex-gratia.
To the Majority Leader, such double payments may have arisen from lack of synchronisation of the payment systems from Parliament for Parliamentarians and that of the Presidency for Ministers.
He added that while the paying institutions can be blamed for failing to communicate, the beneficiaries have a responsibility to, when they notice the double payment to inform Parliament or the Presidency.