Judges retire on their salaries yet they take ex-gratia – Randy Abbey

I don’t understand why judges must be given ex-gratia – Randy Abbey

Article 71 emolument must be reviewed – Dr Abbey suggests

A judge got ex-gratia of GH₵4m – Sam George alleges

Broadcaster Dr Randy Abbey has questioned why superior court judges in the country, including Supreme Court Justices, are given ex-gratia benefits every four years.

Dr Abbey suggested that there is no need for judges to be given ex-gratia because they retire on their salaries.

“…I do not understand how… the judiciary, especially the High court, the Appeals Court (and) the Supreme Court (where the judges) have security of tenure, so they retire at ages 65 or 70 (in the case of Supreme Court Justices), they retire on their salary yet we pay them ex-gratia for every four years served.

“They (the judges) get an ex-gratia every four years, same as MPs (Members of Parliament) who serve for four years and are leaving office. The judges retire on their salaries, it is a fact, just like presidents (because of) what we have created with this Article 71 emolument,” he said on his Good Morning Ghana show, monitored by GhanaWeb.

On his part, Ningo-Prampram MP Sam Nartey George also lamented about judges taking ex-gratia.

The MP said that he even knows of a Supreme Court Justice who got GH₵ 4 million as ex-gratia, even though retired on his salary.

He added that ex-gratia was created to reward deserving government officials who are leaving office but currently, the behaviour of officials indicates that the retirement benefit should be relooked.

Background on ex-gratia

During the second term of John Agyekum Kufuor’s presidency, he set up a commission called the Chinery Hesse Commission that was to, among other things, draw up an emolument package for officeholders captured in Article 71 of Ghana’s constitution, which became popularly known as ex-gratia.

The ex-gratia gives an emolument package every four years that is to serve as a gratuity or a ‘thank you’ to Article 71 officeholders, including the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker of Parliament, the Chief Justice, and Justices of the Supreme Court.

The other Article 71 office holders are Members of Parliament (MPs), Ministers of State, political appointees, and public servants with salaries charged to the Consolidated Fund but enjoying special constitutional privileges.

Watch Dr Abbey in the video below: