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Business News of Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Source: samuel innocent

MD of AKOBEN Security Kept in Police Cells for 3 Days

… Over Non-Payment of SSNIT Contributions
By Innocent Samuel Appiah
THE MANAGING Director (MD) of UNITECH Security, formerly known as AKOBEN Security, was on Saturday detained in Police cells at the Ministries Police Station for failing to fulfill his bail conditions. He was, however, released on Tuesday subject to a security payment of GHc10, 000.00.
Kwabena Bediako, who was arraigned before an Accra District Court presided over Her Honour, Audrey Kwakuvi Tay, a Circuit Court Judge last year November for the non-payment of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions of his staff to the tune of GHc43, 783.68 at the time, was granted bail but jumped the bail. A bench warrant was later on issued and after all efforts to arrest proved futile, a search warrant also issued for his arrest.
After going into hibernation since then, Mr. Bediako was arrested and was arraigned before the Court, where the Court again granted him a bail of GHc70, 000, with two sureties, one to be a Civil or Public Servant. It was however subject to the security payment.
Mr. Bediako, who however managed to fulfill the bail condition after languishing in the cells for three nights, was released on Tuesday afternoon. He is to reappear in Court on August 25, 2012.
Briefing the media on the development, the Osu Branch Manager of SSNIT, Frank Molbilla said the Court made an order for the MD to make GHc5, 000 monthly payments until he finishes clearing the outstanding amount of GHc26, 683.68.
In another development, bench warrants have been issued in Accra for the arrest of some other persons over their refusal to appear in court for failing to pay their employees SSNIT contributions.
They were processed for Court by officials of the Osu branch of the SSNIT after persistent attempt to get them pay 18.5 percent contributions of their employees.
The defaulters are Alice Wilson of Teago Consulting Limited, who owed her employees to the tune of GHc249, 825.36; J. B. Ashong, of Royal Preparatory School at Osu, who owed GHc11, 885.64; Sally Kanbonaba, Director of Monte Carlo Grand Café, located at Labone, whose amount is GHc8, 441.03; and Foster Nyarko of Horizon West Tours, owing GHc1, 771.92.
The refusal of the defaulters to pay the SSNIT contributions of their staff contravenes the National Pension Act of 2008, Act 766, which empowers SSNIT to institute criminal charges against them.
Mr. Molbilla mentioned that his outfit would not relent in its efforts to compel organizations, departments and agencies through legal actions to retrieve all unpaid workers contributions to the Fund.
He said the interest of clients of the Trust was fundamental and supreme to its existence and appealed to organizations, departments and agencies operating under the SSNIT pension to abide by the rules and regulations of the Pension Act.
He explained that SSNIT does not take the joy in prosecuting organizations that default in the payment of their workers contributions in Court but would do so if such organization refused to act promptly to its demand notice letters served them.
Mr. Molbilla said the Trust had put in place favourable conditions for defaulters to either negotiate settlement with it or make full payment to it and urged all organizations operating under scheme to take advantage of the package in order not to push the management of the Trust to the wall to take legal action against them.
He explained that under the Act, employers were obliged to pay their workers contributions to the Trust by 14th of the ensuing month to help avert the payment of penalties.
The Manager indicated that by their refusal to pay the SSNIT contributions, the defaulters are said to have contravened the Act, which empowers Trust to institute criminal charges against them.
For her part, Sohpia Akwamuwor, Prosecutor for the Osu Branch of SSNIT, warned employers to pay their contributions promptly and that failure to do so would result to Court actions, saying that the law is obligatory to deduct 18.5 percent contribution and pay same to Trusts.
Mrs. Akwamuwor said SSNIT was poised to retrieve all outstanding contributions and stressed that the law would deal drastically with employers who refuse to pay contributions of their employees.
She said defaulters who think that they can escape should prepare properly for the battle ahead of them because SSNIT prosecutors would definitely smoke them out from their hideouts and apply the necessary laws accordingly.
The Prosecutor said for as long as the debt remains outstanding, it attracts three per cent monthly penalty of the contribution payable as spelt out in section 83, sub- section one ‘a’ of the Pension Act.
According to her, the current crops of Judges handling SSNIT cases do not appear to have mercy on whoever is involved.

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