There is a public perception that many people enter politics, particularly, fight to go into Parliament because it is a means to enrich themselves.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case for Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, who reveals that prior to coming to Parliament, he was comfortable in life, owning 7 houses in Accra and Kumasi.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister, who is one of the longest-serving MPs, added that he was forced to sell some of the properties because of the realities he was faced with after entering companies.
“Before coming into parliament, people know this, I had 7 houses at various stages of completion. I had not honesty completed any of them at the time but that is what I was worth at the time. When I came I had to sell some to complete some under the circumstances I was in. That is all in the service of God and country,” he disclosed.
Wealth and riches are generally calculated in monetary and physical investments but for Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu his wealth is more in the name he has made for himself and the reputation he has built over time.
“…before I came here I was operating from my own small corner, not many knew of a Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu today at least it register strongly on the horizon that is not quantifiable. To me that is something. You can’t measure that in monetary terms if you were to measure that in monetary terms, that will be significant, that will be huge and of course, it makes you rich in society to the extent that more or less you become a role model to people,” he mentioned.
Speaking about what he is worth now, after spending close to 2 decades in the House, the Majority Leader revealed that he has some properties jointly owned, thus he doesn’t consider them his.
However, the properties he personally owns are about 4 – in Accra and Kumasi.
Speaking on Joy News, he opened up, “There are some that are jointly developed so I may not say they strictly belong to me.
“I had 3 structures in Accra. I sold and developed two out of it, one I have given it to some children I have.
“I have a family so I have one house in Kumasi. Then another one, my first kids, that I have also given that one to them.”
The Majority Leader made these remarks when he was addressing the issue about the state of MPs after they leave parliament.
He said some of them lose their source of income because of their long absence from service thus become a burden to friends and family and in some cases to current MPs.
He thus called for a review of the format of coming up with the ex-gratia for MPs suggesting that it should be replaced into a form of pension scheme that will help MPs live decent lives after their service to the state.
“They become pauperized and that should tell you that parliament is not a goldmine. In fact, most of them especially if your party has lost out…also if the person comes and in exiting is more or less retiring, what happens? So it’s a real challenge and he migrates outside, he exits, the next thing you hear is he has sold his vehicle or calling you please do something for me otherwise it’s bad,” he disclosed.
“Former MPs call asking for survival, handouts, it’s that bad. It’s not like people perceive parliament to be. Many of them regret coming to parliament,” he added.
He said, “This payment of gratuity as far as I’m concerned, we should have a relook. It’s not helpful. I should think that we should have a pension scheme for Members of Parliament.”