The office of former President Rawlings has hit back at media publications and comments by government appointees regarding the former Presidents' entitlements saying he (Rawlings) is not in the business of aggressively pursuing his entitlements and if for some reason his constitutionally mandated entitlements are now being held to ransom, then the government should withdraw all such courtesies.
Read below the full statement issued from the Office of former President Rawlings
STATEMENT FROM THE OFFICE OF H. E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS ON PUBLICATIONS IN THE MEDIA CONCERNING THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S ENTITLEMENTS
October 28, 2011
Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen of the media.
We have invited you here today to respond to calculated attempts by certain faceless elements within government to denigrate His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings, former President of Ghana on issues concerning his statutory entitlements.
Reports in sections of the media over the past few days have sought to create the impression that President Rawlings is avaricious and demanding entitlementsover and beyond what he is due.
While we do not wish to be drawn into the petty political shenanigans of people who should know better as far as official decency, discretion and confidentiality is concerned, we have no option but to set the records straight as far as aspects of these malicious publications are concerned.
On the matter of the Trasacco building, which has been allocated to His Excellency, we wish to state that the letter informing His Excellency about its allocation was dated August 29, 2011 and delivered to our office on September 22, 2011.
President Rawlings upon being notified of the Trasacco option was emphatic that he was not interested. Though the keys to the building came alongside the letter no representative of His Excellency has reported to the premises and we have not sought the assistance of the Presidency for the premises to be inspected and officially handed over.
President Rawlings believes having lived in a temporary state for almost two years he can wait a while longer for the burnt Ridge residence to be rebuilt and has subsequently asked his legal team to prepare an appropriate response to theletter of August 29, which I repeat was received on September 22.
If there has been a delay to the response it is simply because His Excellency and his aides have been busy travelling on Somalia related issues for the past six weeks. He is currently in China at the invitation of the Chinese government.
Last week President Rawlings delivered an address during the SRC week of the University of Ghana and made reference to the fact that he and his family were being treated with some level of contempt by the government and the party leadership.
President Rawlings was referring to the politics of the NDC. He was unambiguous in his statement and we wonder how anyone can link those comments to the issue of his entitlements.
Indeed over the past few weeks the major complaint that has come from any quartersrelated to the former President has been the call by Youth With Conviction of Principles for the speedy reconstruction of the destroyed Ridge residence due to the unusual long delay in commencing actual works on the site as well asmisinformation to party grassroots members that the building was under construction and almost complete.
The fact that senior officials at the Castle have subsequently released official files on President Rawlings to members of the media, clearly goes to confirm the level of contempt some members of government have for the former President and how far they will go to create the impression that because he is getting his so-called entitlements he has no right to criticize the government.
President Rawlings has been travelling on Somalia related issues since January 2011 following his appointment by the African Union as its High Representative for Somalia in October 2010.
The AU is not well endowed financially and pays for one business-class ticket and two economy class tickets for the High Representative and his entourage irrespective of who they are.
Most of these trips are made on short notice and throughout the flight the delegation works preparing statements and reports, so His Excellency can beprepared upon arrival.
Because of the difficulty in moving between classes in the air we sought audience with the Chief of Staff and requested for a special dispensation towards his Somalia-related trips. The Chief of Staff approved the request and we have since put in individual requests as and when necessary for ticket upgrades for aides travelling with President Rawlings.
Itis truly unfortunate that an impression is being created that the upgrades being made are part of President Rawlings’ entitlements. They are not. As far as we are concerned President Rawlings is playing a role that does the image of Ghana good and has the potential of resolving the 20-year-old conflict in Somalia. President Rawlings has not sought any assistance for the issuance of ticket upgrades for non-Somalia related trips.
It is important to note that former Presidents who are appointed to such roles are usually supported by their mother countries. Former President Mbeki of South Africa who is also an AU envoy travels usually at the state’s expense and with a state aircraft complete with elite National Security operatives.
President Rawlings is not in the business of aggressively pursuing his entitlements and a check from government records will indicate that a lot of what he is reportedly entitled to have not been taken advantage of right from the year 2000 when he left office.
If government has received a list of two additional aides it is because we were officially notified that there were two outstanding names to be submitted in the category of aides and we followed procedure by submitting those names. If for any reason government felt it was an anomaly we should have been duly informed.
We will not be intimidated by elements in government who in performing their roles as defined by the state are now trying to create the impression they are doing President Rawlings a favour.
If for some reason President Rawlings’ constitutionally mandated entitlements are now being held to ransom, then we humbly request the government to withdraw all such courtesies.
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