Ghana News

Supreme Court rules against plea for special pension scheme for ex-MPs

The Supreme Court has ruled that it is unconstitutional for the Chinery-Hesse Committee to provide a special pension scheme for Members of Parliament finishing their term.

The People’s National Convention’s 2020 presidential candidate, David Apasera, together with 39 other former MPs under the Kufour Administration sued the Attorney General and the Finance Ministry claiming at least GHS233,495 each as pensions owed them.

These were largely members of the third Parliament of the Fourth Republic.

Yaw Osafo-Maafo, then NPP MP for Akim Oda; NPP National Chairman, Freddie Worsemao Armah Blay, then CPP MP for Ellembelle; a former Senior Minister, Joseph Henry Mensah and three-term NPP MP for Sunyani East; a former Government Minister, Kwamena Bartels, then NPP MP for Ablekuma North, a former Deputy Interior Minister and two-term NPP MP for Berekum; as well as former Government Minister and three-term NPP MP for Cape Coast, Christine Churcher; are some of the plaintiffs.

Also included are a former First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and four-term NDC MP for South Tongu, Kenneth Dzirasah as well as PNC National Chairman, Moses Dani Baah who served as PNC MP for Sisaala East in the 4th Parliament.

The forty ex-MPs went to court in March 2017 demanding GHS10 million (interest inclusive) as pensions.

David Apasera in a Citi News interview at the time said: “We have served the nation… A committee of five persons under Chinery-Hesse went into the matter and told us the amount that will be paid us if we serve two consecutive terms, and we have served two consecutive terms, we have served the nation, and we, therefore, qualify for a pension. We are not being inconsiderate. We are claiming what is legitimate.”

He argued that “We are not paid anything as a pension. We might have been making contributions to SSNIT, but not all of us had the opportunity of serving in areas where we would have a pension to ourselves.”

The Chinery-Hesse Committee constituted by then-President Kufuor had recommended that persons who exited Parliament after serving two full terms and, at least at 50 years were entitled to pension benefits.

The group intimated that an Attorney-General’s 25th June 2015 letter had directed the Finance Ministry to pay the money which directive the Ministry has since not complied with causing the aggrieved former MPs much “distress and suffering”.

The seven-member panel Supreme Court, however, held that the said Chinery-Hesse Committee recommendation is unconstitutional.

A member of the group, a former NPP Subin MP, Sampson Kwaku Boafo told journalists after the court proceedings on Thursday, December 3, 2020, that the group will reconvene on the apex Court’s decision.

Source: Citi News

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