Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin Pushes to End Ex-Gratia System Amid Corruption Concerns

Ghana’s Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, has called for the abolition of the ex-gratia system, which provides retirement benefits to public servants such as Ministers and other holders of Article 71 positions, including the Speaker’s Office. Addressing a forum in Kumasi commemorating the 30th anniversary of the Fourth Republican Parliament, Bagbin acknowledged that while these payments were originally intended to curb corruption among specific public servants and political officeholders, they have not achieved that goal.

“The concept was to incentivize them to prioritize the interests of the people they represent, knowing they would be provided for after leaving office. The intention was to mitigate corruption.

Hon. Alban Bagbin
Hon. Alban Bagbin

Regrettably, in reality, it has failed to fulfill its intended role,” he remarked. He continued to advocate for the amendment of Article 71 of the Constitution to abolish ex-gratia payments, which he believes have become unnecessary.

Hon. Bagbin emphasized the persistence of corruption among political officeholders and public officials in the current democratic era. He asserted his unwavering commitment to eliminate corruption without hesitation.

He also expressed readiness to back the amendment of Article 71 of the Constitution to eradicate ex-gratia payments for public officials. The theme for the anniversary was “Thirty Years of Parliamentary Democracy under the Fourth Republic: The Journey This Far.”

The forum aimed to offer Parliament a platform to assess its accomplishments, recognize obstacles, and reaffirm the fundamental principles of democracy, justice, and equality that have shaped the nation over the past thirty years. Additionally, it served as a reminder of the strides taken during this period and underscored the imperative to further fortify democratic institutions and processes moving forward.

Bagbin emphasized that the public should understand that the allowances known as ex-gratia were not exclusively for Parliamentarians but also extended to public servants. “There is a distinction between ex gratia and gratuity, and it applies not only to Members of Parliament but also to various categories of public servants and political officeholders including the Auditor General, chairs of constitutional commissions, Ministers of State, the Judiciary, and others.

It’s not limited to just Members of Parliament,” he emphasized. In practice, he said, the system had not fulfilled its intended purpose, agreeing wholeheartedly with those advocating for the reconsideration of Article 71 of the Constitution.