A member of the 7th Council of State, Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman, attended only one meeting in his tenure as a member of the Council of State.
The information on the attendance of records of individual members of the Council of State is contained in a response The Fourth Estate obtained from the Council of State after a relentless pursuit under the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989).
Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman, a former Upper West Regional Chairman of the Governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), was appointed by the president to the Council of State.
He has confirmed to The Fourth Estate that he was paid ex-gratia even though he attended the meeting only once.
The Council of State versus The Fourth Estate
The Council of State released the information on the attendance of members after The Fourth Estate dragged it to the Right to Information (RTI) Commission. The Council had refused an RTI request made by The Fourth Estate in June 2022.
This compelled this reporter to petition the RTI Commission for redress. In a response to The Fourth Estate, dated October 12, 2022, the RTI Commission attached to its determination on the matter the data released by the Council of State.
The information, however, does not include the signed copies of attendance sheets as requested by The Fourth Estate. It also did not include the allowances paid to members of the Council of State for the meetings.
The RTI Commission ruled that “salaries and allowances of the Chairman and members of the Council of State are exempt information and cannot be made available to you.”
The Fourth Estate applied to the Council of State in June seeking answers to 17 issues relating to the council that advised President Akufo-Addo in his first term, from 2017 to 2020.
The request bordered on issues surrounding the revelation by a member of that eminent body, Togbe Afede XIV, that he returned his ex-gratia, which was paid to him. Members of the Council of State were paid ex-gratia of GHc365,000 after receiving salaries, allowances and other benefits during their tenure.
According to, Togbe Afede XIV, the Paramount Chief to the Asogli State in the Volta Region, the payment of GHc365,000 to him as ex-gratia was “unconscionable” and “inappropriate”. He said the work of the Council of State was a part-time job, during which members were duly remunerated while they served.
Togbe Afede’s gesture was greeted with mixed reactions. While a section of the public hailed him, some loyalists of the governing party attacked him. Brandishing information from the Council of State, the host of Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana, Paul Adom-Otchere, claimed that Togbe Afede XIV attended only 16% of the meeting and suggested he did not deserve the ex-gratia in the first place.
The Information The Fourth Estate received from the Council of State shows that Paul Adom Otchere’s claim is completely false.
Why Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman attended only once
The information also revealed that Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman attended only one Council of State meeting in 2019.
Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman, popularly known as Alhaji Short, filed to contest the national chairman of the party and withdrew his candidature in 2018.
After that, the president appointed him as chairman of the governing board of the state-owned Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited in 2018.
President Akufo-Addo also appointed Chairman Short to replace Alhaji Mogtari Sahanun, a Council of State member from the Upper West Region who died in 2019.
Prior to the two appointments, he was already serving as a member of the governing board of the Bui Power Authority.
Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman was sworn into office in December 2019, and records from the Council of State show that he attended meetings only once that year.
However, he did not attend any of the 29 plenary meetings of the Council of State in 2020. The council held the second-highest number of meetings in 2020, after the 32 meetings it held in 2017.
The records also show that the man he replaced was a member of the Legal, Constitutional Affairs and Petitions Committee of the Council of State. There is no record of Alhaji Short attending any meeting of that committee since he took over.
As in the case of Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman, President Akufo-Addo also appointed Major General Richardson Edwin Baiden (Rtd) in 2019 to replace Nana Kofi Obiri Egyir II of the Central Region.
The Council of State’s records show that Major General Richardson Edwin Baiden (Rtd) attended 4 meetings in 2019.
In 2020, he attended 19 out of the 29 meetings of the Council of State, making a total of 23 meetings.
When The Fourth Estate reached out to Alhaji Abubakari Abdul-Rahman for comment, he said he had issues with his eyes shortly after taking the Council of State position, the reason he was not present at meetings.
He said he explained his situation to the chairman of the Council of State and he was regularly briefed on what transpired.
He also ended his tenure as the board chairman of the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company Limited and a member Bui Power Authority board.
When asked whether he was able to attend meetings where he served on boards, he said, for those meetings, he was able to “go and sit down and listen.”
Paul Adom-Otchere’s false claims on Togbe Afede’s attendance
On June 7, 2022, Paul Adom-Otchere made the following claim on his show: “In 48months, they [the Council of State] held 242 meetings. Of those 242 meetings, the distinguished Togbe Afede attended 39 of them and that constitutes 16% of the meetings that Togbe attended.”
Information The Fourth Estate obtained from the Council of State shows that Togbe Afede XIV attended 57 meetings out of the 125 meetings he was expected to attend.
Togbe Afede XIV was the chairman of the Economy and Sustainable Development Initiative Committee (ESDIC) of the Council of State.
The council held 114 plenary (general) meetings from 2017-2020, while the ESDIC held 11 meetings, making a total of 125 meetings.
Togbe Afede XIV attended 47 of the plenary meetings and 10 of the ESDIC meetings making a total of 57 meetings. This is 45.6%, contrary to Paul Adom-Otchere’s claim that he attended 16% of the meetings.