General News of Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

Two drag NHIA to court

Two audit officers have dragged the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to the High Court, claiming GHC145,050 in damages.

The plaintiffs, Mr Moro Kwesi Sesi and Kenneth Gbezeh, claim that the NHIA had given them a “raw deal”.

Joined in the application is Mr Maxwell Amo Hoyte, an accounting consultant.

In their statements of claim, the plaintiffs averred that in 2010, the second defendant, Mr Hoyte, employed them as audit officers leading a team of other audit officers, including trainees, to audit mutual insurance schemes under the NHIA.

According to the claim, the second defendant, who was then not licensed as a consultant, operated under Glisten Consult and Aiko Consult and had won the contracts to audit those schemes using Glisten and Aiko.

It said from 2011, Mr Hoyte, then having formed Amazen Consult and obtained a consultant’s licence, won contracts in the name of Amazen Consult to audit schemes under the NHIA.

Mr Hoyte, according to the claim, then employed the plaintiffs to lead teams, including staff of the Internal Audit Division of the NHIA, to audit 11 schemes of the NHIA all over the country, spending 102 days to complete the audits before submitting reports to Mr Hoyte for onward transmission to the NHIA.

They said it was always understood among the three parties that by virtue of the experience gained in auditing the NHIA schemes and training staff of the Internal Audit Division on the job, the plaintiffs would be employed by the authority as permanent staff of its Internal Audit Division.

According to the statements, by virtue of that arrangement, the plaintiffs applied themselves assiduously to the audit of the schemes and trained staff of the Internal Audit Division on the job.

They received only “per diem” from the authority on all the trips they embarked on and were often conveyed to the schemes by transport provided by the NHIA.

According to them, they were not particularly interested when they were instructed by the second defendant to report to the first defendant’s officers to take up assignments to audit the schemes, to know under whose authority the assignment had been approved and whether they were executing the assignments for any of the private consultancies operated by second defendant.

They said the modus operandi was that the second defendant would call them on phone and instruct them to report to the Head of the Internal Audit Division of the NHIA, Dr Gustav Cruickshank, or his officers, adding that they had a working relationship with Dr Cruickshank through telephone and e-mail.

The plaintiffs said at the end of 2012, they were told by Dr Cruickshank that their relationship with the NHIA had been terminated and they would be employed as arranged.

According to them, they had not been paid for the work they did for the first defendant through the reference of the second defendant and been paid only a fraction of what they deserved, causing them to lose professional income totalling thousands of Ghana cedis.