Collected GH¢19,000 For Childbirth, GH¢36,193.20 Spent On Mobile Phone
By Cecil Mensah
Credible information picked up by The Herald on the activities of the interdicted Managing Director (MD) of State Housing Company (SHC), has revealed how the MD, Mark Nii Ankrah, usurped certain roles at the company, including making himself the spending officer and financially dried up the already collapsing state institution.
In one of such instance a year, Mr. Ankrah, paid himself an amount of GH¢9, 000.00 for the delivery of his baby. Few days later, he also claimed an additional GH¢10,000.00 for his wife for an earlier delivery; an expenditure his family was not entitled to.
So for the delivery of his two babies, Mr Ankrah pocketed a total of GH¢19,000 from the state coffers, while some workers have their salaries in arrears for months.
Indeed, it appeared the MD, who was a London-returnee, was only interested in blowing cash and not putting in any effort to resuscitate the comatose State Housing Company; mandated to provide affordable housing units for workers and members of the general public.
A document dated July 25, 2014, further revealed how a whopping GH¢36,193.20 was blown on his phone bills alone per a month, as though he had opened a communication centre or runs the popular “Space-to-Space” facility, where all manner of people could use the state-acquired phone.
The amount was purportedly paid to Ghana Telecom, although that company is now called Vodafone.
He is also mentioned in a petition available to The Herald to have procured the services of a lawyer, who is a friend of his to carry out some jobs for the company including a “simple search and verification on a property at 102 Labone” and paid him a total of GH¢ 706,000 as legal fees.
While the search in question is normally priced at GH¢4,000.00, Mr. Ankrah is said to have paid his lawyer friend a shocking GH¢56,000.00.
Mr. Ankrah, is accused of unilaterally raising payment vouchers for his travels outside the country, and only seeks the approval of the internal auditor, instead of the accountants. The MD, after raising his own payment voucher, then minutes it to the General Manager of Finance and Administration for payment.
The Herald, is reliably informed that for the past four years that Mr. Ankrah managed the affairs of the state-owned company, he singlehandedly signed cheques, without the approval or consent of the accountant, as well as the Board of the company.
Even though, the SHC was collapsing, because of the bad management practices of Mr. Ankrah, he lived a lifestyle akin to that of an Arabian King in the oil -rich Saudi Arabia, while the workers go home hungry as a result of the nonpayment of their salaries.
Officials at the company, some of whom confided in The Herald, said the MD’s numerous travels abroad, did not bring any benefit to the operations of the limping company.
His usurpation of roles, has been corroborated in the petition by a “Concerned Union Staff” of the company to the Office of the President, copied to the Deputy Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing, Sampson Ahi.
The petition is dated December 19, 2014, and titled, “Petition Against the Managing Director of State Housing Company Limited”.
An attached document; a memo, dated March 26, 2014 to the General Manager in Charge of Finance and Administration, revealed how he and others, including one Nii Adjetey Boye, an Architect and one Francis Kwabena Asenso, an Estate Officer, collected per diems and clothing allowance for a 10-day trip to Singapore.
The memo reads, “Please arrange payment of the applicable per diem and clothing allowances for our official trip to Singapore from Thursday March 27, 2014 to Saturday April 5, 2015 making a total of ten days”.
The payment voucher, was signed by the MD himself, and the purpose of the trip was to participate in the fifth annual International Affordable Housing conference, undertake field trip and explore strategic partnerships with local industry stakeholders.
A whopping amount of nine thousand, five hundred and thirty Ghana Cedis (GH¢9,530), was coughed out for the MD and the two others to embark on their jolly trip to Singapore. Another document dated March 27, 14, revealed that the MD pocketed GH¢3,806.46 of the GH¢9,530 per diem for the Singapore trip.
The payment voucher for his various trips abroad, including private ones are approved by the internal auditor of the Company, and not the accountant as is the practice.
According to a petition in possession of The Herald, the MD sometimes overstays to enable him draw more cash from the company by way of overtime allowance.
Another document also detailed how an amount of GH¢150,246.62 was paid out from the state coffers.
Interestingly, the cash-strap state company, is sometimes unable to pay salaries of its workers. The Herald is told that salaries could run into arrears for half a year.
The petitioners called on the Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing to investigate, why their colleagues at two zones, have not been paid salaries, but the MD is quick to demand and actually gets whatever he wants from the state-owned company.
The Herald’s, attempt to speak to the beleaguered MD to comment on developments under his tenure, has proved futile, as he refused to pick calls and text messages made to his Vodafone line.
The Herald, is informed that he has raised objection about the composition of the committee setup to investigate him. For this reason, a new governing board, is about to be set up to get them to probe his suitability for the job.
The present Board Chairman, one Mr. Akuffo, is said to be kicking against the investigation, despite the overwhelming allegations against the MD.
More to come!!!