Justice Yaw Apau
Two staff of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), who were denied Cap 30 pension, have separately petitioned the Commission of Enquiry investigating the payment of judgement debts.
The petitioners, Agnes Tawiah and Seth Adzah, want the Ministry of Health (MoH) to pay their pension under Chapter 30 of the 1950 British Colonial Ordinances (Pension Ordinance No. 42), popularly known as CAP 30.
However, the ministry insisted that the petitioners had already received pensions under the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) Pension Scheme and were not entitled to any further payment.
The CAP 30 pension scheme, which is regarded as higher than the SSNIT pension, is funded by direct budgetary allocations from the consolidated fund, but public servants who qualify for CAP 30 still contribute five per cent of their monthly salaries (deductible at source), while the government (the employer pays 12.5% of employees’ respective salaries to SSNIT.
Yesterday, Hamidu Adakurugu, the Director of Finance at MoH, told Sole-Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau of the Court of Appeal that all the petitioners went in for the SSNIT pension and could not turn around to claim CAP 30.
‘When you go for the SSNIT pension, you cannot benefit from the CAP 30 again. By their action they opted for the SSNIT pension and that disqualifies them from CAP 30.’
He said ‘Mr. Adzah told me that five months after his pension he was paid ¢40 million (GH¢4,000)’ adding, ‘Agnes told me she went for the SSNIT pension, but she did not mention the amount.’
‘Her reason was that the CAP 30 was delaying and she was sick before retirement, so she went in for the SSNIT pension,’ he added.
‘From the documentation, it is clear that she qualifies for CAP 30 but the problem is that because she went in for the SSNIT pension, it means he has forfeited the CAP 30,’ adding that the Controller and Accountant General’s letter is instructive on pension computation.
‘It is not in doubt that they are qualified, but she opted for the SSNIT pension. They didn’t wait for the CAP 30 to be processed. They could have waited to benefit from it.’
‘From my telephone discussion with them they clearly indicated that they accept the fact that they have taken the SSNIT pension, but what they want is that we should process the CAP 30 and deduct the SSNIT pension from it and give the balance to them. But I think it is not feasible,’ he stated.
Mr. Adakurugu said that in terms of magnitude, the CAP 30 was far bigger than the SSNIT pension, but added that ‘I cannot explain the actual basis for the calculation.’
Later, when Justice Apau perused the documents tendered in evidence by the ministry, he found that the two cases were pending before the National Labour Commission and therefore said the commission needed to allow the labour arbitrator to conclude the cases.
The Commission of Enquiry into the payment of judgement debts, tasked to investigate the frivolous and dubious payments of huge monies to undeserving individuals and companies, was appointed by President John Dramani Mahama after public uproar over what is now known as ‘Judgement Debts’ (JD).
Notable among them were payments made to CP (â‚¬94 million) and the never-ending case of GH¢51.2 million paid to the self-styled National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, both of which many believed were dubious and frivolous.
By William Yaw Owusu
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