Over ¢9 Billion Workers’ Provident Cash Blown
By Alfred K Dogbey
The whereabouts of over ¢9 billion (old Cedis) belonging to workers of the State Transport Company (STC), taken from the paltry salaries of the workers as Provident Fund (PF), could not be accounted for by the management led by Managing Director, Charles Thompson.
The amount, including other workers’ deductions such as fuel and maintenance allowance, was collected for the period of 3years, since the establishment of the fund in 2009 to 2011.
The Herald’s ongoing investigations into the management of STC fund discovered that, even though the Fund was supposed to be managed by Vanguard Assurance Company, this did not happen.
Charles Thompson’s management, strangely took over the Fund and left it in the hands of Head of Finance and Administration, Nuhu Jansbaka, who is currently on interdiction for singlehandedly ‘chopping’ GH¢13, 019.67(¢130 million old Cedis) out of the Provident cash for no work done.
Part of the cash, has also been traced into the pockets of some highly-favoured individuals, numbering about forty-five who had access to the cash under the guise of “loans” without the knowledge and approval of the poor workers.
According to the aggrieved STC workers, several efforts to know the whereabouts of their monies have proved futile.
They told The Herald that they were shocked to realize that since the establishment of the PF, no money has been deposited into the Fund’s account at Vanguard Assurance.
Interestingly, a five-member committee, set up last year, by the STC and SSNIT boards to look into the grievances of the workers following agitations, also compounded the problem by failing to state clearly what the Fund was expended on.
The committee’s report described by the workers as a “Kangaroo Report” was drafted to cover-up those involved in the ‘chop-chop’, the Committee noted that “since Management took over the management of the Provident Fund jointly with the Board of Trustees, deductions made from the individual staff salaries were not into a Provident Fund Account due to the critical financial constraint of the company”.
The Committee admitted that the STC “management’s inability to refund workers Provident Fund contributions” confirming that indeed, deductions have been made from the workers’ salaries.
The report, however, claimed the workers’ money was not paid into the Vanguard’s account “due to the critical financial constraint of the company”, as though the PF was meant for the operations of the company.
Parts of the report said, “about forty-five (45) staff had been given loans using the balances on their Provident Fund as set off”.
Enraged over the findings, the workers said, they are not shareholders of the company for which reasons their sweat, toil and blood money should be used for an alleged management of the state-own company by a visionless leadership, which has driven the company into coma.
The report only recommended that “management is urged to open a Provident Fund account with a bank and pay all the Provident Fund deductions in addition to the employers contribution into the account as soon as practicable”.
Meanwhile, this paper gathered that although the company has been hit by financial crisis, the five-member committee pocketed ¢90 million as sitting allowance for the sloppy investigation which lasted for only a month.
Mrs. Veronica Turkson, the acting Head of Finance and Administration and Mr. Emmanuel Quartey, Head of Audit, from SSNIT together with Mr. Elijah Nimfah, a Management Accountant recently travelled to Cote D’ Ivoire at the expense of the company in search of money to refund the worker’s PF, but
returned with nothing, yet respectively grabbed huge allowances.
Mrs. Turkson went to Cote D’ Ivoire via aircraft, whilst the two, Mr. Nimfah and Mr. Quartey, went by road’ all at the expense of the crawling state transport company.
The Committee chaired by Ms Rebecca A. Lomo, Operations Accountant at SSNIT included, Joyce Wereko-Ampim Opoku, Legal Manager/SSNIT, Anthony Awotwe, a Principal Labour Officer at the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, Brother Charles Nortey, a Chief Administration Secretary of Transport Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union of Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC).
Doris D. Bekoe a Legal Manager of STC was co-opted as a Secretary to the Committee.
Workers had said that they were told at a meeting to go to school and become accountants if they wanted to ‘chop’ big money. This was when a worker demanded to know the exact amount in the account of the Fund.
The comment was said to have been made by the suspended Head of Finance and Administration, Nuhu Jansbaka at the SSNIT Guest House on September 26, 2013 after the worker’s second agitation. The same man was later to grab GH¢13, 019.67(¢130 million old cedi) of the workers’ cash for no work done. He is on interdiction, pending a refund of the money.
The meeting was between the boards of STC Management, TUC, including the concerned workers of the STC. In attendance were outgoing board STC Chairman, Group Captain Asante, D.D Nyantakyi, Sampson Gyamera, Isaac Dorkey, Charles Thompson, all members of the STC board. Others include, Brother Charles Nortey of TUC, Mrs. Cynthia Mettle-Nunu of Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.
It was at the SNNIT Guests House that Victor Nyakotey, an engineer with the company, demanded the total amount collected as PF, and was told by Mr. Nuhu Jansbaka, that the Fund has recorded GH¢932,000 so far.
Meanwhile, Mr. Charles Thompson, the embattled Managing Director is said to have refused to hand over to Mr. Nuamah Donkor, after he was fired last year.
Mr. Thompson is said to have told a management staff that he will only leave office, after he is paid his end of service benefit, ex-gratia.
The Herald made effort to speak with him, but he was rather snubbish towards this reporter.
This paper is also probing some questionable procurement issues at STC, which has terminals in Burkina Faso, Benin, Togo and Cote d’ Ivoire.
The company is also said to have a plush Guest House in Cote D’ Ivoire, which has also falling victim to the mismanagement, instead of raking in millions of foreign exchange into state coffers.
More to come!