The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has described as “false” and “malicious”, claims that justices of the superior courts are paid ex gratia.
The Agbogbomefia of the Asogli State, Togbe Afede XIV, recently rejected an amount of GHS365,392.67 paid to him as ex gratia by the state for serving on the Council of State between 2017 and 2020.
The business mogul, in a statement, said he does not think it is appropriate to be paid ex gratia for a part-time job he did for the state for which he received a monthly salary.
“I want to add that my rejection of the payment was consistent with my general abhorrence of the payment of huge ex gratia and other outrageous benefits to people who have, by their own volition, offered to serve our poor country,” he said in a statement.
His gesture generated a lot of political debate about ex gratia, with some critics naming the judiciary as a beneficiary of the article 71 officeholders’ emolument every four years.
However, the president of AMJG, Justice Henry Anthony Kwofie, a Justice of the Court of Appeal, said no judge receives ex gratia every four years.
“The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana (AMJG) has followed the discussions on the payment of ex gratia to some Article 71 officeholders and has noted with dismay, the false and malicious allegation that judges of the Superior Courts (Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and High Court Judges) are paid ex gratia at the end of every four (4) years”.
“The AMJG would like to state without any equivocation, whatsoever that that allegation is false and baseless,” he noted.
The judges set the records straight as follows:
a. That, the salaries of Superior Court Judges ie. (Supreme Court Judges, Court of Appeal Judges and High Court Judges) are determined once every four (4) years by His Excellency the President on the recommendation of a Committee appointed by the President under Article 71(1) of the Constitution 1992.
b. That, if increases are effected in the salary as a result of the recommendations of the Committee, the judges are then paid arrears of salary commonly called back pay arising from the back-dating of the salary increase.
c. This arrears of salary or back pay are, accordingly paid in a lump sum or installment. This has been the situation since 1996.
d) It is this arrears of salary or back pay which is mischievously being described as ex gratia in the press particularly on radio, television and on social media platforms by some seasoned journalist and so-called social commentators who never attempted to look for the truth.
It noted “categorically that no Superior Court Judge is or has ever been paid ex-gratia every four years as being wrongly stated in the media.”