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General News of Thursday, 30 October 2014

Source: Daily Guide Network

Rot at NSS: Former director grabs five mansions

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The rot at the National Service Secretariat (NSS) appears to be more deep-seated than anticipated, as information reaching 'Daily Guide' indicates that a former Executive Director of the organization acquired not less than five houses in four years before he was removed.

The director, who was removed after a series of complaints by the Board of the NSS, was later given a juicy appointment as a presidential staffer.

Shortly after his removal from office, some concerned members of staff of the NSS wrote to President John Mahama to institute a probe into the activities of the NSS boss and purge the scheme of the “institutionalized thievery and naked robbery of stated funds by him and his cohorts”, but the said report never got to the presidency.

The report said the former NSS boss lived far above his means, acquiring flashy, expensive and luxurious cars – Lexus, Mercedes Benz, Saloon Cars, among others – as well as mansions in Abokobi, Oyarifa, Trade Fair Site, ACP Estates at Pokuase, Sakumono and other places in Accra.

It said in some cases, he used names of his friends as owners of those cars and buildings to cover his tracks.

The report cited, for example, that the former director claimed that a soldier friend had asked him to build the mansion near the Trade Fair Site in Accra for him.

It said in building all those houses, he used the Borehole Unit staff and equipment to drill boreholes for water without paying for the services.

The report said in addition to the already mentioned fraud, the former executive director paid a whopping Ghc25,000 cash to his wife, bought a flat for her at Adenta and a car to compensate her after he was caught in marital crisis.

The NSS is currently embroiled in a financial scandal of gargantuan dimensions as the immediate executive director, Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, is facing charges of stealing to the tune of about GH86.9 million belonging to the Government of Ghana.

The alleged systematic stealing had been institutionalized with the immediate past management allegedly continuing where others had left off.

According to the documentary report, copies of which have been made available to 'Daily Guide', during the reign of the former executive director in question, names of non-existent service personnel were allegedly generated and inserted in the payment vouchers of some regions, notably Greater Accra, Western, Central, Volta and Brong Ahafo.

Allowances paid to such “ghost” personnel were withdrawn by the Regional Directors and paid to the big man in Accra. The report said the massive fraud and stealing of state funds were perpetrated through his errand boy, a certain Gyamfi.

The errand boy used to go round collecting the monies from the Regional Directors on a monthly basis for his master.

It said in 2012, the lid on the huge fraud was blown off and instead of dealing with the problem; the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government let the director off the hook because of strong political backing.

A committee was set up, with a report leading to the transfer of some directors and interdiction of others; but no action was taken in the case of the executive director.

Some of the implicated officials were merely made to refund the money.

The Board of Directors of the NSS called for action to be taken against the perpetrators, but these recommendations were never implemented.

The report said in another orchestrated incident, the former executive director, now walking free, in concert with an officer of the Voluntary Service, raised memos for programmes that never took place, withdrew monies from the Income Generation Account and returned the payment vouchers with forged receipts, authenticated with fake rubber stamps of some respectable hotels and guest houses in Bolgatanga, Wa, Jirapa, as well as in Walewale.

According to the report, the monies were funds provided by the Voluntary Service Origination VSO) to support activities of the National Voluntary Programme. Samples of the rubber stamps are in possession of Daily Guide.

As if that was not enough, the former NSS boss caused deductions to be made from allowances of National Service personnel for entrepreneurial training, which never took place, but the GH60,000 that was deducted was never accounted for.

The report said in gross disregard of the Procurement Act, the NSS boss always resorted to sole-sourcing whenever he wanted to purchase some items.

He did so without consulting the board or seeking its approval, creating confusion among them, with reports indicating for example that the purchased Yutong buses, some agricultural equipment and some tractors, among other items, with the board’s approval.

The report said he collected the tractors before applying for the sole sourcing facility.

The report also mentioned that during the tenure of the former NSS boss, the farms that were established by the scheme were badly managed, adding that they were fraught with corruption and inefficiency such that by the time the man was leaving office, the scheme was indebted to the tune of about GH79,000 from unpaid purchases of maize seed and chemicals.

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