Former President, John Mahama has said he has no source of income to refund the ex gratia that was paid to him.
According to him, he is a pensioner, adding he has spent the money that was paid to him.
“I say we will cancel ex gratia, if you will also cancel it say it but why are you insulting me and saying I should refund mine? Will you cancel it or you won’t, tell the people of Ghana but they are saying I should bring mine first.
“I have spent the money already and now I am a pensioner, where am I going to get that money to pay back? I am unemployed but they say bring yours to show you have good faith, I have no source of income, and you say I shouldn’t work,” he said.
Mr Mahama made these comments in response to calls for him to return all ex-gratia paid to him as a sign of good faith after he announced plans to scrap ex-gratia for Article 71 holders when elected as President in 2024.
This was during the campaign launch at Sokode in Ho ahead of the flagbearership elections of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) on Thursday, March 2, 2024.
He stated that Ghana needs a leader who does not see the national purse as a manifestation of his birthright.
He was responding to his comments which have been met with mixed reactions at the NDC Professional Forum Dinner and Awards Night in Accra.
“They say the president should not hold the office of profits so you gave it to me, I spent it then you come and say I should refund it, where am I going to refund it from?
“They don’t understand the gravity of the situation. I do think that those of them who speak for NPP, don’t understand the gravity of the situation, but is good for our party,” he stated.
Meanwhile, private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, has asked Mr Mahama to repay his ex-gratia with campaign donations.
But to the former President, the position of Mr Kpebu does not make sense.
“Somebody who should know better, a lawyer, he said, then I should refund all the ex gratia we took before to show Ghanaians that yes, we are serious about cancelling it, he does not even know the principle in our constitution that says that you can’t pass retroactive legislative if you pass legislative today it does not affect what happened in the past, what he says is a bit silly because it is like saying because we have introduced free SHS all of us should go and get a refund of our school fees that we paid in the past. That is how silly what he is saying is,” he lashed out.