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General News of Tuesday, 24 April 2018


Flagstaff House Brouhaha: Mahama staff list hits 897

It has emerged that former President John Dramani Mahama had more people working under him during his tenure than Ghanaians are being made to believe.

The NDC has gone into political frenzy after the list of appointees serving under President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration was revealed in a letter from the president to parliament recently.

In the letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike A. Oquaye, pursuant to Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, President Akufo-Addo had said that he was bequeathed with 706 public and civil servants and that he had only employed 292 personnel to help in running his administration – bringing the total to 998.

Mahama’s List

However, the 2015 list, which then President Mahama never sent to parliament for approval as mandated by law, shows that 897, including 712 public sector employees, were working at the then Flagstaff House (now Jubilee House).

In 2014 when Mr Mahama presented his list to parliament, the total number was 678 but a year later it ballooned to 897 without parliamentary approval.

In the breakdown, there were six minister of state at the presidency, 61 presidential staffers and 118 other political appointees, including Stan Dogbe, Koku Anyidoho and Gabriella Tetteh (sister of Hanna Serwaa Tetteh, former Minister of Foreign Affairs).

However, there were more than 10 journalists working at the Flagstaff House under John Mahama, whose names were not captured, as well as other appointees whose appointments were concealed from the public, including a certain Mawusi who was working at the Office of the Chief of Staff and allocated a bungalow at Roman Ridge.

She also benefitted from the cars sold to ex-officials of the previous Mahama administration.

The name of Sam George, current MP for Ningo-Prampram, who previously served as presidential staffer, was conspicuously missing on the list which never made it to parliament.

In the case of the current NPP government, there are nine ministers of state, 27 presidential staffers and 256 junior political appointees as at December 31, 2017.

The then minority NPP in 2016 did not appear to have demanded the 2015 and 2016 annual reports from the then Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho.

President Akufo-Addo and his NPP government are taking the flak for the ballooning of the list of civil servants it inherited from the NDC.

State Resources

Yesterday, Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid, debunked claims by the minority and some members of the public that the number of staff at the presidency is on the high side as compared to the previous administrations.

According to the information minister, President Akufo-Addo is committed to protecting the public purse, despite concerns that his government has too many appointees at the presidency.

Mustapha Hamid said despite the criticisms about the number of appointees serving in the current regime compared to that of his predecessor’s, the Akufo-Addo administration is operating with a budget much less than that of former President John Mahama.

“Our list, for example, is a little above the President Mahama’s list but if you look at the budget for office machinery under President Mahama, it is way above our budget. For 2017 they had about GH¢3 billion but we came in 2017 with about GH¢1.5 billion,” he told Joy FM yesterday in Accra.

The information minister further explained that the establishment of several development authorities and the creation of additional government agencies under President Akufo-Addo necessitated the recruitment of people at the presidency to man them, even though with lesser budget as against that of former President Mahama.

“It is possible for two people presiding over a nation to squander its resources as opposed to perhaps a hundred people who are more prudent and committed to the protection of the national purse,” he said.

Last year, the president told workers during the May Day celebration at the Black Star Square that the country had saved GH¢443 million following finance ministry’s suspension of salary payment to some 26,589 workers in April 2017.

He said the comprehensive payroll audit conducted by the ministry in the last two months had purged the system of ghost names and saved the nation some money.

President Akufo-Addo noted that the country spent GH¢36,166,203 every month to maintain the 26,589 ‘ghost’ workers on government payroll.