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General News of Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

Kpessah Whyte ‘dodges’ NSS scandal


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The hearing of the case involving Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, the former Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat (NSS) and 34 others implicated in the massive fraud that hit the Scheme last year could not continue at an Accra High Court (Economic, Financial and Tax Division) yesterday.

This was because Dr. Michael Kpessah Whyte, the NSS boss and current witness in the case, was not available for the hearing to continue.

Marina Appiah Opare, a Principal State Attorney at the Attorney-General’s Department, told the court, presided over by Justice Georgina Mensah-Datsa that Dr. Whyte had informed the prosecution that he was not in the jurisdiction.

No Witness

According to her, the witness who would be available next week has also taken up an international appointment for which reason he would not be available after 27th January.

She prayed the court for adjournment.

Dennis Adjei Dwumoh, lawyer for Alhaji Imoro, reminded the court of its power to compel the NSS boss to appear before it.

He argued that if the court exercises its power, “the witness will not take all of us for a ride.”

In Dwumoh’s view, the court has to send a strong signal to Dr. Whyte that he could be compelled to attend court.

Sitting has been adjourned until January 27.

Accused Persons

They are Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, former Executive Director; Nelson Ayeltiga, former accountant; Gloria Aku-Mensah, Ag. Internal Auditor; Alhassan Iddrisu, Ag. Head, PPME; Ebenezer Anim Dankwah, Director National Voluntary Service Programme; Sammy Ofori, Internal Auditor; Seth Nana Obugyei Asiedu, former, Director Greater Accra Region; Nana Fosu Amankwa Agyapong, Director, Eastern Region; Gabriel Nyorke, Director, Volta Region; Ali Ahmed Awubila, Director, Central Region and Michael Tottimeh, former Director, Western Region.

The others are Ebenezer Edzii, Director, Brong Ahafo Region; Shaibu Termi Abiru, Director, Northern Region; George Dasah Naanwinyelle, former director Upper East Region; Dominic Delle, accountant, Northern Region; Samuel Larbi-Siaw, accountant Brong-Ahafo Region; John Kwame Ayew, accountant, Volta Region; Francis Himbuah, accountant, Eastern Region and Nicholas Senti, accountant, Western Region.

Also in the dock are Solomon Kurug, Aliyu Husein, Alexander Agumey and Seth Quarteyli Quartey, accountants for Upper East, Upper West, Central and Greater Accra Regions respectively.

The rest are Cletus Kaba, Raphael Adu-Agyepong, Theophilus Kwofie, Dominc Popula Maabesog, Joseph Bati, Festus Obeng-Sefa, Emmanuel Asante, administrators for Northern, Ashanti, Western, Upper East, Upper West, Central and Greater Accra Regions respectively.

Also standing trial are Helena Bokoro, Secretary, Northern Regional Secretariat, Motaro Yussif, Secretary, Tamale Metro Office; Helena Mensah, Personal Secretary to the Ashanti Regional Director and Freda Donkor, typist for the Ashanti Regional Secretariat.

The charges preferred against the 35 persons ranges from conspiracy to stealing.

Alhaji Imoro is facing additional charge of “giving bribe to influence public officer contrary to section 25 (2) of the Criminal Offences Act, Act 29 of 1960.

The prosecution alleged that Alhaji Imoro within the said period at the NSS headquarters in Accra dishonestly appropriated GH¢28,749,395.80 belonging to the State.

The former NSS boss is said to have between August 1 and September 26, 2014, given GH¢25,000 and GH¢15,000 respectively to one Charles Kipo, a BNI investigator as value consideration.

Alhaji Imoro has been granted bail in the sum of GH¢90 million with three sureties, all to be justified with properties worth GH¢1 million.

In July 2014, the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) commenced a nationwide investigation into the operations of the NSS with regard to the payment of monthly allowances to service personnel.

The Bureau discovered malfeasance in the postings and payment of allowances to service personnel.

Investigations established that between September 2013 and August 2014, the pay roll of the NSS was bloated by 31,516 names for both the National Service Postings and the National Voluntary Service Recruitment.

During that service year, National Service personnel were paid GH¢243 and GH¢ 350 per month from January to August 2014.

The prosecution alleged that an elaborate plot hatched by Alhaji Imoro, the Executive Director, supported by senior officers of the scheme at the National Secretariat and all the Regional Directors of the scheme and implemented by the District Directors involved the generation of “ghost” names at the head office of the scheme in Accra.

The ghost names were added to the genuine names on the nominal rolls based on which payment vouchers were prepared, adding that the payment vouchers were prepared by the chief accountant, Ayeltiga and passed on to the Internal Auditor.

Aku Mensah, who was supposed to audit and vet all the accounts and payment vouchers, did not do so and yet passed them on to Ayeltiga and received regular payments from some regional directors.

The ghost names, which were detected in all the districts in the country, were mostly posted to the rural areas and in some cases to non-existent institutions and departments.

Alhaji Imoro never dealt directly with the district directors and that the’ ghost’ names were sent by the accused to the regional directors with firm instructions on the monies to be paid to him every month.

The number of names, the prosecutor said, Alhaji Imoro gave to each regional director depended on the loyalty and trust he had for him or her.

The Regional Directors have all admitted their involvement and have promised to refund their share of the proceeds, except Alhaji lmoro, who has repeatedly denied any involvement.

“All the Regional and District Directors as well as the senior officials at the NSS have all made part payments in satisfaction of their liabilities. The Executive Director has however not made any payment at all though he has been furnished with his liability.”

The prosecution indicated that the state as a result lost an amount of GH¢107,897,018.36.

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