THE GOVERNING Board of the National Service Secretariat (NSS) has directed the Management of the Scheme to proceed on leave with immediate effect.
Those affected are the Executive Director of the Scheme, Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, and his two Deputies, Michael Kombor, in-charge of Finance & Administration and Madam Sophia Karen Akuako, incharge of Operations.
The following headquarters staff, Messrs Fiifi Asubonteng, Director of IT; Alhassan Iddrisu, Director, PPME and Ms Gloria Aku Mensah, Acting Internal Auditor, have also been asked to step aside.
Furthermore, the Greater Accra Regional Director, Mr Seth Asiedu, and all other officers of the Scheme whose names have so far been cited in the ongoing investigations necessitated by a scandal that has hit the Scheme, are to step aside.
According to a statement issued by Mrs Gifty Mahama, Board Chair, the decision was reached at an emergency board meeting held at the National Secretariat yesterday.
It further added that the Governing Board had temporarily taken over management of the Scheme until further notice.
The directives have come as a result of allegations that the scheme?s Director, Alhaji Alhassan, had attempted to offer GH?200,000 bribe to security officials investigating widespread corruption in the National Service Scheme.
He is reported to have paid GH?100,000 in his attempt to silence investigators of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to keep mute on a GH?7.9 million financial fraud within the Scheme.
According to media reports, a total of GH?7.9 million had been paid to 22,612 non-existent national service persons in more than 100 districts in July 2014 alone.
The statement posited that the actions by the Board were informed by its ?strong desire and determination to pave way for the ongoing investigations into the operations of the Scheme and to ensure that all persons who may be found culpable are appropriately sanctioned according
It assured, ?The Board wishes to assure the general public that since its inauguration on 9th December, 2013, it has, and will continue, to pursue the path of public accountability and elimination of all corrupt practices in the operations of the Scheme.?
Meanwhile, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Education Minister in-charge of Tertiary Education, had expressed utter shock at the magnitude of alleged fraud uncovered at the NSS.
Speaking on Joy FM?s ?Super Morning Show? programme yesterday, Mr Ablakwa described the development as ?very disturbing, worrying and unconscionable.?
He contended, ?It defeats the purpose for which this national service was established.?
Mr Ablakwa stated that although the investigation was still ongoing, ?What the National Security has told us is that the rot is quite deep.?
The Deputy Education Minister wondered why such ?huge? funds could find their ways into individual pockets at the NSS?which is just one of the 20 agencies under the Ministry of Education?at a time when the government is struggling to mobilize resources to improve education in the country.
He assured, ?We will do everything possible to bring to book anybody responsible for this rot and nobody will be spared.?
Franklin Cudjoe Wades In
Founding President and Chief Executive Officer of IMANI Ghana, Franklin Cudjoe, has also waded into the controversy, insisting that ?the latest fraud at the Secretariat comes as no surprise since the Mahama-led administration has proven to be the most corrupt government ever.?
He charged, ?The revelations that the National Service Scheme is the latest theft enterprise in the current government come as no surprise.?
Franklin Cudjoe is said to have posted on his Facebook wall that the miscreants had been jacking up the payroll with ghosts for years ?but reached aggravated levels under the most disinterested and sleepy government in the last six years.?
The IMANI boss recalled, ?When I initially resigned from the government?s committee, I offered an antidote to check payroll fraud. I still do not believe that the wage bill is truly 70% of our internally generated revenues.?
BY Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson?Email:email@example.com