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General News of Thursday, 7 September 2017

Source: dailyguideafrica.com

NDC snubs SSNIT $72m scandal

It appears the National Democratic Congress (NDC) feels safe remaining silent on the controversial Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) stinky software deal that has cost the nation over $72 million, with some leading members of the party said to be behind the deal.

Members of the Minority NDC in Parliament, who were swift in criticising the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, earlier this year over the $2.5 billion domestic bond issuance and commented on the petitions against the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, has been silent over the SSNIT scandal which fingers top NDC chieftains, including the party’s 2020 presidential hopeful, Prof. Joshua Alabi.

At a press conference on Tuesday in Accra, the minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, indicated that the NDC was waiting for “expert advice” before it could publicly comment on the alleged rot at SSNIT.

According to the minority, it would restrain itself from commenting on the over $72 million software system known as Operational Business Suite (OBS) for now, although it had held various meetings on the issue.

Majority Shocked!

The majority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in parliament has expressed shock with the deafening silence from the minority over the SSNIT $72 million scandal.

Majority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, indicated last week that the minority, which is best known for hurriedly organizing press conferences on topical issues, had ignored the scandal at SSNIT.

Diversionary Tactics

Interestingly, as well-meaning Ghanaians beg for answers from the opposition party over the SSNIT scandal, which is not forthcoming, the minority has, as a diversionary tactic, turned its attention to Ken Ofori-Atta, whom the party has accused of approving a credit facility of GH¢10,459,500 from the Agricultural Development Bank (adb).

DAILY GUIDE understands that the said credit facility was granted to McDan Shipping Company.

But the minority is of the opinion that the decision by the minister to approve the loan was to usurp the power of the board.

Mr Haruna Iddrisu pointed out that the failure of President Akufo-Addo to reconstitute a governing board – including that of ADB – to oversee such transactions, was responsible for the finance minister approving the loan.

He accused Mr. Ofori-Atta of reducing “the mandate and role of the Ministry of Finance to some credit disbursement entity in order that they can reward the political cronies.”

He made reference to a letter, which indicated that a credit facility of GH¢10,459,500, was earmarked for McDan on the authority of the Finance Ministry.

While blaming President AKufo-Addo for failing to constitute the requisite governing board to oversee such transaction, it said Ken Ofori-Atta’s action was to “reward the political cronies.”

“This is to enable the company [McDan] to undertake its business operations, and in particular, to execute a supply contract awarded by the Ghana Cocoa Board,” Haruna Iddrisu stated.

Ken Reacts

However, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta has denied that he contravened best practices in approving a credit facility for the company.

Speaking briefly on the allegations, Mr Ofori-Atta told Citi Fm that it was within the purview of the credit committee of the bank to consider his actions right or wrong.