Lawyer Gary Nimako Marfo has explained that in proper context what is termed as ex gratia for Article 71 officeholders does not exist, according to his understanding.
Speaking on the Active TV Morning Show, he revealed that Article 71 holders are a category of workers whose salaries, and other conditions of services are not known upon their assumption of work until an emoluments committee is set up to determine those entitlements, hence there is nothing like ex gratia.
He then added that what is given to the Article 71 holders at the end of their services is salary arrears and not ex gratia.
“What they call ex gratia, I don’t think so to speak it is ex gratia, but for some extent, they term it as ex gratia. If it is an ex gratia it will mean they should have paid you your salaries. For instance, if a lawyer charges legal fees and afterwards wins the case, there is success fees which is not part of the legal fees. So it is not ex gratia, which sounds as if it is a thank you package, then their salaries should have been determined first, so it is Salary arrears that’s the way I see it,” the Legal practitioner said.
The issue of ex gratia has been topical of late. A few weeks ago former President John Mahama hinted at revisiting Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution to tackle the issues of ex gratia in the next term of the next National Democratic Congress (NDC) government. Mahama argued that the 1992 constitution needs to be amended to deal with the entitlement of Article 71 officeholders.
According to him, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has eroded all the democratic gains made in the country and maintains that “if the NDC is given the nod in 2024, the review processes of the Constitution which commenced during the period of late President Professor Atta Mills would continue”.
President Mahama said the next NDC government must commit itself to the implementation of the review of the 1992 Constitution, started by ex-President Atta Mills of blessed memory. He noted that the review will focus on reforming the Judiciary and deal with issues of ex gratia payments and other issues of Article 71 emoluments.
The Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV, a former member of the Council of State who served between 2017 and 2020 under President Nana Akufo-Addo, recently refunded monies paid to him as ex gratia, saying the payment wasn’t justified for work he considered part-time and was well remunerated. Many Ghanaians have criticized government officials as not deserving the monies paid to them.
However, Gary Nimako maintained that “the truth Ghanaians are not told is that it is not ex gratia. I don’t see it as ex gratia because if it is an ex gratia then the person (Article 71 officeholder) should have been receiving his or her full salary and other conditions of services,” he concluded.