What is ex-gratia payment. It is a payment done in favour without legal right. Or simply it means, you are paying someone a sum of money without admitting liability, for whatever pain or discomfort or loss that has been caused. It is some sort of guilt payment without admitting guilty. That’s all to it.
The ex judges, five in number, were paid some extra money. This was to appease them and say forget what happened in the past, now that you have been compensated.
Zaid Ibrahim the de facto law minister, had this to say why the amount involved must not be divulged.
- The Judges did not want publicity, or discussion
- The amount be kept confidential
- The privacy of the Judges must be respected
- It was not a bribe to shut the Judge’s mouth
- Permission must be obtained from the Judges before releasing the amount given.
All these is bull, if you ask me. It brings out the possibility either the compensation was very low, say a few hundreds or running into millions. Was it a shameful amount or did this make them millionaires.
Whatever said and done, it is the people’s money, and this is another episode like Petronas, where everything is done under the table; secretly, and perhaps at night. Transparency and accountability; what, are they new words.
For three hours for de facto law minister Zaid Ibrahim who was grilled on various issues facing the beleaguered judiciary.