GH¢7.9 Million National Service Cartel Still At Post

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Insiders Fear Compromised Governing Board Might Attempt Cover UP…

The Herald’s investigations into the dirty Gh¢7.9 million payment to non-existent service personnel after a Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) probe, has revealed some interesting findings, key among which is that the chief architects of the corrupt practice are still at post and might be working day and night to cover up the deep-rooted fraud.

The Herald’s information is that, attempts are been made to have the whistleblower at the National Service Secretariat (NSS), hanged on the altar of tribal, ethnic, marriage and family ties by some political heavyweights, who the paper has traced all the way to the seat of government, the Flagstaff House.

Indeed, insiders have told this paper that the Gh¢7.9 million, uncovered by the BNI, is a tip of the iceberg, and that there is more rot, but that could only be unearthed, especially the Voluntary National Service posting, funded by a Scandinavian NGO, when the governing board headed by Gifty Mahama Biyira is dissolved.

It was alleged that the members of the board, have been compromised with the looted booty.

Of particular interest, is Gifty Mahama Biyira, who draws her powers from a very powerful lady in the Ghanaian society.

Gifty Mahama Biyira, is not trusted to ensure that the true extent of the rot is appreciated and the various loopholes blocked perpetually, The Herald’s insider intimated to the paper.

It was revealed that Madam Biyira, was very instrumental in the appointment of Alhaji Imoro Alhassan as the Executive Director of NSS, by lobbying people at the Flagstaff House, hence cannot escape any blame and disgrace.

Again, it was revealed that the interdicted NSS boss, has had a very cosy relationship with Madam Biyira, dating several years, when both of them were junior officers in the Northern regional capital, Tamale.

When Gifty Mahama Biyira was the Tamale Metropolitan Director, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, was one of the District Directors. He became the Metropolitan Director, when she moved higher to become Regional Director.

When Madam Biyira, became the Deputy Director of Finance and Administration, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, took over her job as Regional Director.

The interdicted Executive Director, moved to the NSS Headquarters in Accra as head of Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (PPME), when Madam Mahama Biyira, left the service and later became a member of the old board, constituted by the John Evans Atta Mills government with Vincent Kuagbenu as Executive Director.

Later, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, was made Deputy Director in-charge of Finance and Administration, when Gifty Mahama Biyira, became Chairperson of the NSS Governing Board, then begun her lobbying and schemes to have him made the Executive Director when Vincent Kuagbenu was booted out from office, with what was merely said to be his poor human relations.

Interestingly, last Thursday, when TV3 interviewed Madam Mahama Biyira, she insisted she could not allow her beloved Alhaji Imoro Alhassan to step aside for a thorough investigation to be carried out, explaining that she had no report on the matter indicting him. But on Friday, she called an emergency board meeting, after which she directed the management to step aside.

Insiders told The Herald that at the meeting, Gifty Mahama Biyira, intermittently wept bitterly for Alhaji Imoro Alhassan and Michael Kombor, leading to a suspension of the meeting for several hours.
In the meeting were, James Fonu Kpatakpa and Sidii Abubakar Musah, as aspiring National Democratic Congress (NDC) Deputy Youth Organizer and Youth Organiser, respectively.

It was said that no report was discussed during the meeting and the Governing Board, did not give any reason for the interdiction of the officers namely; Michael Kombor, Sophia Karen Akuako, Fiifi Asubonteng, Alhassan Iddrisu, Gloria Aku Mensah, Seth Asiedu and others, whose names have been mentioned in connection with the scandal.

It was further revealed that a press statement was issued long before management was informed of the decision to interdict them in the wake of the BNI report. Indeed, the chairperson signed the press statement weeping and blowing her nose, as though she had been beaten.

Additionally, The Herald learnt that some officers, who were sent home, had not been interviewed by the state investigative machinery. Some of these officers, were said to have either acted on the instructions of Alhaji Imoro Alhassan or knew nothing with respect to the siphoning of money from the coffers of the state into private pockets.

The BNI, did not recommend the sacking or interdiction of the officers, so the board’s decision was seen as an attempt to hide more rot from coming out.

During last Friday’s board meeting, certain individuals were openly mentioned as innocent of the scandal.

Meanwhile, The Herald information is that the rot has been going on for some time now.

For instance, one Mr. Ezii and Naomi, were once arrested on the instruction of the ex-Executive Director of the NSS, Vincent Kuagbenu by the BNI. A decision was reached to have them refund huge sums into the coffers of the NSS. When Alhaji Imoro Alhassan took over, they were cleared of any wrong doing and the BNI informed as such.

The Herald learnt that at a meeting held yesterday with Deputy Minister of Education, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, it was agreed that, even those who have no direct link to the scandal should stay at home until further notice.

Meanwhile, Accra-based Joy FM reports that it appears no one wants to accept the blame for the alleged financial fraud at the NSS as previous and current administrations that managed the scheme deny liability.

The scheme, has been rocked with a scandal regarding the payment of nearly GH¢8 million to 22,000 non-existent national service persons in July, 2014.

A member of the Board of Directors of the NSS, Isaac Annan Riverson told Joy FM, on Monday, that the current Board assumed office in December 2013; a period when the so-called ghost postings had already been entered and payments into those accounts already in progress.

“The issue that is out in the public domain, has to do with postings that were done long before this board came into being…In December 2013 when this board came into place, these postings had already been done,” Mr. Annan told Joy FM.

But in another twist, Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, who headed the National Secretariat between 2009 and 2013, is also claiming that the alleged corrupt acts, did not take place under his tenure.

“We took up several measures to bring some sanity to the NSS…this mess has nothing to with my tenure,” Vincent Kuagbenu stated on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, yesterday.

The immediate-past National Director, also rejected criticism by a member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, addressing the involvement of the National Security Secretariat in the ongoing investigations into the alleged fraud.

Mr. Afenyo-Markin, said Parliament should have been called upon to investigate the scheme and its findings referred to the National Security for action.

On the contrary, Mr. Kuagbenu, said the BNI, has been involved in investigating the scheme since “time immemorial”.

“The BNI helped me in cleaning some of the mess that happened when I inherited the NSS or during my time. So the BNI investigating the scheme is not new…they have been working with us from time immemorial,” he told Show host, Kojo Yankson.

He said, he was ready to provide any information deemed useful by personnel of the investigative body, should they require his input. “If in the course of investigations the BNI is convinced that I am culpable in this gargantuan fraud, they will come for me”.

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