President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a rather curious turn of events has refunded some GH¢237,000 of salaries paid to him after his appointed committee headed by Professor Yaa Ntiamoah Baidu had controversially hiked his salary to GHC 42,979 and back-paid from 2017.
Whatsup News gathered that the President may have been forced to quickly refund the contentious pay that has massively angered Ghanaians because of the recent coup d’état in Guinea, where his 83-year-old tyrant friend Alpha Conde was ousted from power by a detachment of the country’s military forces.
Aside from his despotic subversion of Guinea’s constitution to illegally install himself as president for the third time, Conde had reportedly increased his salary arbitrarily despite plunging his citizens into abject poverty.
The ripple effect of the military takeover has sent fear through African leaders, particularly in West Africa, and President Akufo Addo’s hasty refund of salaries paid to him is seen as an exhibition of fears emanating from the fate of Guinea’s strongman Conde.
At a press briefing at the Jubilee House today, September 7, 2021, the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin has said the President had asked for the salary increment to be stopped since May, but for some reason, he had still been paid the full amount till August 2021.
“For some reason when the president received his salary accrued from January to August this year, he noticed that the directive he gave had not been enforced and so leading by example, Thursday, the 2nd of September 2021, he wrote a cheque amounting to GH¢237,000 to the Pensions and Salaries account of the Controller and Account General’s account department to reflect the decision he has taken to freeze salary increment for himself,” Eugene Arhin explained.
It is curious that President Akufo Addo only realised his salary had not been frozen as he commanded since May 2021 as Eugen Arhin claimed. The fact that it only got to his attention a few days ago makes speculations that he had to be inspired by the happenings in Guinea plausible.
In 2019, President Akufo Addo commissioned a Presidential Emolument Committee headed by Professor Ntiamoah-Baidu, which recommended a salary from GHC 42,979 monthly to GHC 47,277 for President Akufo Addo and an increase from. from GHC 35,816 to approximately GHC 40,000 for Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.
The committee also recommended that the First and Second Ladies should be paid salaries equal to those of cabinet ministers. The increases were to be backdated to 2017 in what attracted intense public outcry.
Additional to this, the President will be enjoying several other allowances, free utilities, free accommodation, travel expenses and vacation expenses of over US$ 50,000 a year with his spouse.
A copy of the report of the Presidential Committee on Emolument intercepted by Whatsup News shows that since 2017, President Akufo Addo had consistently increased his own salary every year by an average of 11%.
Akufo Addo’s salary increase was the first time any President had increased his salary since 2013. The timing of the increase could not have been more insensitive, given the serious economic hardships in Ghana that had forced the government to enforce austerity measures on the economy.
While asking citizens to tighten their belts, President Akufo Addo had not denied himself extreme luxury. He had abandoned his official presidential jet and had been globetrotting with the most expensive private jet in the world which cost Ghana US$ 15,000 an hour for the president’s frequent travels recently. Each trip cost the country at least GHC 3 million.
Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul had justified the expensive jets the President had been flying in, saying the President needed a jet that had an onboard hot water bathtub and that the presidential jet had none.
It was a similar profligate lifestyle of Akufo Addo’s friend Conde that got him ousted by the Mamady Doumbouya-led coup d’etat.
The leader of Guinea’s elite army unit, Mamady Doumbouya announced on Sunday, September 5, 2021, that the coup d’état was necessitated by Conde’s misrule that had thrown the West African country into a state of irreversible corruption and poverty.
Doumbouya had justified the takeover, saying “poverty and endemic corruption” had driven his forces to remove Conde from office.
The Akufo Addo administration is also smarting under the pervasive corruption scandals, including the dubious Agyapa Royalty deal that the resigned Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu had described as the baby of President Akufo Addo.
Amidu slammed President Akufo Addo by describing him as the “Mother Serpent of corruption” because he claims after his corruption assessment of the Agyapa deal was given to President Akufo Addo, the President had attempted to arm-twist him to “shelve” the damning evidence uncovered in the deal.
Meanwhile, The Director of Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), Prof. Kwasi Aning, has warned more coups loom in the sub-region. It is unclear if Ghana is a candidate or not.