General News of Thursday, 26 December 2013
The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) on Christmas Day denied media reports that it is withholding the arrears of the market premium for some of its military and civilian staff at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.
A statement issued by the Public Relations Directorate of GAF on Wednesday described the report as false.
It stated that it is not true that monies from the government treasury had been released to any individual in GAF, adding that, the process and procedures for paying salaries or arrears is through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP), Controller and Accountant General’s Department and the Forces Pay Office.
“It is therefore not possible that the government treasury would release monies to an individual to disburse to beneficiaries thereby giving the individual the opportunity to withhold the monies or for other purposes,” it said.
The GAF explained that following MOFEP’s approval to restore the premiums to Ghana Health Service employees in July 2012, the laundry staff and health assistants at 37 Military Hospital were omitted.
The statement said GAF through the Ministry of Defence in October 2012, requested MOFEP to grant approval for the market premium to cover laundry staff and health assistants, and it was approved in February 2013 including the certification by the Audit Service for the amount to be paid.
It said a Board was therefore set up to review the grades of the beneficiaries for the purposes of paying the auxiliary staff of the hospital the market premium.
The Board was chaired by Col. Vida Otoo, a Senior Military Officer, and it was based on its recommendation that a report on the review of the grades to the appropriate authorities for further action was released.
The GAF statement noted that on the contrary, Col. Otoo and the other Board members should rather be commended for doing a good job to get the auxiliary staff of the Armed Forces Medical Service covered adequately and appropriately by the Single Spine Salary and market premium schemes, instead of being insulted.
It assured that the Ministry of Defence and the Military High Command would continue to seek and work for the interest of all personnel employed in the Defence sector.
The statement also urged the media to be wary of some bad nuts in the system that might discredit their work by using them as a conduit to publish false stories.
It was reported in the section of the media that Col. Vida Otoo, a Senior Military Officer, was withholding a huge amount of money, which had been released by government to offset arrears of market premiums for some military and civilian staff at the 37 Military Hospital.