General News of Sunday, 12 March 2017
The former Board Chairman of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Professor Joshua Alabi has denied claims that the immediate past Board of SSNIT approved the sale of six prime properties in the last days of the previous administration.
Professor Alabi has been accused in some media publications for his alleged role in the sale of some prime properties of SSNIT but in a Citi News interview, Prof. Alabi explained that the previous board assessed the viability of some key assets of the Trust but left the decision to sell to the new board.
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He explained that a committee led by the former General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Kwadwo Asamoah was tasked to assess properties of SSNIT and made recommendations to the board.
“The team was led by the former General Secretary of the TUC, Kwadwo Asamoah. They went and inspected these facilities and they presented their report that the whole thing was coming down and even the maintenance alone was not helping the Trust so the property should be sold.”
“But when the report came to us, it was after the election. So when we met on January 6 , we said we accept their report as a board, but because we will be moving out and a new board will be coming, we shall recommend to the new board based on the recommendations of the committee that they can sell the property but they should go through the [laid down] process,” he added.
Below is a full rejoinder Prof. Alabi issued on the matter:
REJOINDER: “EOCO CHASES SSNIT”
My attention has been drawn to a publication on page 20 of the March 8, 2017 edition of the Daily Guide newspaper titled “EOCO Chases SSNIT.”
The said publication falsely claimed that the former Board of SSNIT of which I was the Chairman gave approval for the sale of six of the Trust’s prime residential properties in the last days of the previous government.
Here are the facts:
A Committee which was set up to look into the financial viability of some of the assets of the Trust found that the listed properties were either unoccupied, or had deteriorated, while others had outlived their usefulness.
Management explained to the Board that these assets did not yield any cash returns to the Trust and had negatively affected the return on assets ratio while the cost of maintenance of the properties were too high.
The Committee in its report recommended that the listed properties should be sold.
Following the recommendations, the Board at its last meeting held on 5th January, 2017 directed that management of the Trust should engage the services of the Architectural Engineering Services Limited (AESL) to value the properties to be disposed of and revert to the Board. That is the incoming Board.
The Board decided that the report of the valuation should be submitted to the next Board for review and consideration before the process of divestiture begins.
The Board further directed that the sale should be advertised and bidders should be required to submit bid bonds as part of the process. The Board further directed that in doing so, due process should be followed.
I am not aware of any contrary decisions taken subsequently regarding this matter. So it cannot be true that the former Board decided to sell properties at the eleventh hour as claimed by the Daily Guide.
The sale has therefore not begun and could not have been concluded by the previous Board.
I expect you to publish a retraction of the paragraph containing the false allegations against my person and the previous Board.
Secondly, I expect Daily Guide to apologize unreservedly for the false publication and give it the same level of prominence.
Finally, I expect this rejoinder to be published in full without any editing whatsoever.
Prof. Joshua Alabi
Former Vice-Chancellor, UPSA