General News of Monday, 23 January 2017
A member of the Appointments Committee and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, at the committee’s sitting on Friday, revealed that the present management of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), with endorsement from its Board of Directors, had put up eight executive houses for sale to private individuals.
These SSNIT mansions and guest houses, he claimed, are located in ‘high class’ residential areas of Accra such as Cantonments and North Ridge.
They are House No 58, located at North Ridge, House No 58(a) also located at North Ridge and six management residences numbered 17, 18, 20, 21, 22 and 24 – all located at Cantonments.
Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, who had an official memorandum on the arrangements for the sale of such public properties by the SSNIT management, drew the attention of the Minister-designate for Finance and Economic Planning, Ken Ofori-Atta – who was then being vetted – to such a “dubious” deal.
According to the MP, who is popularly called NAPO, the memo was dated 13th January, 2017 and was signed by one Gabriel N.O. Sackey, requesting for title documents on the aforementioned properties for valuation.
When the attention of the Minister-designate for Finance was drawn to such purported arrangement, he said he would quickly investigate such move by SSNIT, stressing that the intended sale would be stopped if it was done to benefit some people in management.
The minister-designate said it was important the nation preserves its properties for future use and also for the state not to spend so much to house public officials.
Dr Opoku Prempeh, who is also the Minister-designate for Education and would be appearing before the Appointments Committee tomorrow, told DAILY GUIDE that his information was that SSNIT current senior managers who sense that they could probably be replaced with the change of government, had taken advantage of the transition process to sell state properties belonging to the Trust to either themselves or their cronies at cheap costs.
“This is definitely a rape of the nation’s scarce resources and an illicit transfer of public property to private individuals or entities,” he noted.
The Minister-designate for Finance also told the committee that he would jealously protect the public purse and religiously fight corruption.
According to him, corruption in public places costs the nation a whopping $4 billion a year and that he would work closely with the Attorney General’s office to fight that canker.
The Minister-designate for Interior, Ambrose Dery, told the Appointments Committee on Saturday that he would ensure that the relevant laws are applied strictly in the discharge of duties by all agencies under the ministry.
He said particularly that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), which has been carrying out its activities in some cases with serious breaches of the law, would be put under strict supervision.
A member of the committee and NPP MP for Abuakwa South, Samuel Atta Akyea, pointed out that BNI operatives had been violating rights of suspects in their custody such that a suspect would not be allowed to have access to his lawyer when his statement is being taken.
The Minister-designate said, “When there is no lawyer, we achieve negative results and we know that people have been convicted and served sentences and after several years people have come out to say that they were framed up; and this will stop under my administration,” he said, stressing that Article 17 of the Constitution which says everybody is equal before the law would be strictly applied under his leadership.
The sitting of the Appointments Committee will continue today with the Minister-designate for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchway; Minister-designate for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama; Minister-designate for Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen and Minister-designate for Energy, Boakye Agyarko, appearing