President Akufo-Addo has asked Ghanaians to ignore news that seek to suggest that he is superintending over an over-bloated staff at the Jubilee House, the seat of government.
The president said he was bequeathed with 706 public and civil servants and that he had only employed 292 personnel to help run his administration.
In an annual report to parliament on presidential office staff, 2017 as required by law, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has gone overdrive since the issue hit the media last week, and they are accusing the president of putting a further strain on the public purse by employing more hands.
Pursuant to Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, the president is supposed to submit the annual report on the staffing position of the Office of the President, which he did for 2017.
The letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Prof Mike Aaron Oquaye clearly shows that the president, upon assumption of office on January 7, last year, met 706 staff left behind by his predecessor John Dramani Mahama and his National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Some of the staff had their appointments between December 2016 and January 2017 before the handing over to the new administration.
A perusal of the letter indicated that as at December 31, 2017, there were nine ministers of state, 27 presidential staffers and 256 junior political appointees.
The workers of the ministers of state are also captured as the staff of the presidency.
“Employees of public sector organizations assigned to the Office of the President include civil servants of various classes (ie administrative, executive/clerical, records, secretarial, budget, supply and material management), presidential household, Department of Parks and Gardens, Ghana Health Service, Accounting and Data Processing, and Audit Service, etc,” the president said in the letter.
DAILY GUIDE‘s investigation shows that the then NDC government, under President Mahama, had a figure of 678 as a full list of staff at the presidency, including public and civil servants as at 2014.
However, the list was ballooned in 2015 and further in 2016 and also failed to furnish the new names to parliament as mandated by the law.
The then minority NPP did not appear to have demanded it from the then Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho.
Now it appears 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.
Former NPP National Chairman, Peter Mac Manu, who was the campaign director of the NPP in the 2016 general elections, waded into the debate, slamming those spreading “fake news.”
Speaking at the NPP Western regional delegates’ congress in Tarkwa on Saturday, Mr Mac Manu, who is the current board chairman of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), said, “It is not true. When we say presidency, they work for the office of the president. It is not everybody who works at the office of the presidency who is at the [Jubilee] House.”
He added, “Some of them are even at various locations but their designation is that they work under the office of the president. If NPP came with 200-and-something and somebody writes on his Facebook wall that NPP has employed 935 people at the Jubilee House, isn’t that fake news? It is.”
Mr Mac Manu mentioned that the opposition elements of the NDC were peddling a lot of untruths about President Akufo-Addo’s government and it was up to the NPP members to expose them.
He said the party members should not take anything the NDC says hook, line and sinker but always endeavour to verify any news they hear.
“We have a government to project. Let’s project the good works of His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa and those in this region, the works of the Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie.”
“If you want to project government, you will have to deal with fake news. Some people have made it their business to run down this government,” he explained.
He added, “So we have a duty to protect this government. Whatever we hear, read or see in the media needs to be subjected to verification.
“If we fail to reflect and verify these fake news and allow them to be promulgated, then we are not protecting the government,” Mr Mac Manu stated.
By William Yaw Owusu & Emmanuel Opoku, Tarkwa