General News of Thursday, 26 February 2015
Government has saved the state over 20 million cedis that would otherwise have lined the pockets of some officials at the National Service Secretariat.
This was disclosed by President John Mahama during his penultimate State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Wednesday.
The amount saved was a result of investigations authorised by the President into allegations of fraud at the NSS.
The Secretariat was hit with a massive payroll fraud, which saw top level management members conniving with District managers to defraud the state.
Nearly Gh?8million of public funds was paid into ghost national service accounts. In July 2014 alone, up to 7.9 million cedis was paid into ghost and duplicate accounts.
Officials indicted, include then Director of National Service, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan who was also fingered in the fraud with reports he paid 100,000 in bribes to BNI officials with the ultimate aim of concealing the facts.
It is perhaps the biggest scandal to have been unearthed within the scheme that engages graduates from the nation’s tertiary institutions.
In his address to Parliament, the President said the results of the NSS investigation “revealed an organised system of misappropriating government funds through the insertion of ghost service personnel.”
“Investigators have so far retrieved over 20million cedis. In addition, some officials of the service are currently before the court.”
To address the fraud in the system, the President said the government has introduced an electronic payment system for service personnel.
“This will help to eliminate ghosts in the national service payroll,” he said. According to him, Government has saved an estimated 26.5 million cedis.
Touching on the collapsed GYEEDA and revived Youth Employment Agency, the President said his government is proceeding with the prosecution of officials who were deemed to have defrauded the state under the GYEEDA programme.
He said monies are also being retrieved from service providers under GYEEDA while promising that steps have been taken to ensure proper checks and accountability under the new Youth Employment Agency, which replaces GYEEDA.
While the President chronicled a litany of projects Government intended to execute, the minority members, who in previous addresses had been loud with jeers, were loud in silence this time around.
The Minority members wore black, apparently to sympathise with what they claimed to be a crisis situation in Ghana’s power sector.
The Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu later explained that the Minority’s silence was partly to respect the House and the President stating, “Let nobody tomorrow say that the President so much mesmerized the House that we couldn’t do anything but listen to him in silence”.