Despite pumping $72 million into a non-functional digitization project, it has emerged that Ghana’s Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is struggling to pay salaries.
The founder of the Centre for Freedom and Accuracy, Andrew Awuni who made the revelation on the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday said the current management is working to turn the situation around.
“SSNIT is not fine. In fact but for the new management that has stepped in, it was very difficult for them to pay salaries at SSNIT. You won’t believe it. Not to talk about [payment of] pensions. Salaries were becoming an issue at SSNIT. I’m telling you as a matter of fact. They were struggling to pay salaries but nobody heard it,” he added.
This comes on the back of revelation that SSNIT ‘s 80% shares in then Merchant Bank [Now UMB] had been reduced to less than 5%.
Mr. Awuni who is also a former spokesperson to former President John Kufuor is on record to have challenged in court, the acquisition of Merchant Bank by Fortiz but he lost.
SSNIT is currently under investigation by the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) for wasting $72 million for the procurement of hardware and software to run the operations of the Trust.
The project, which was originally supposed to cost $34 million later ballooned to $66 million and later $72 million.
The Board Chairman of SSNIT, Kwame Addo Kufuor in an earlier interview with Citi News said about 15 people had already appeared before EOCO as witnesses in the matter.
On the depreciated shares of SSNIT in the UMB bank, Mr. Awuni said it is a big loss to Ghanaians.
“It’s a big loss to the Ghanaian contributor. In fact it should raise alarm bells of investment profile of SSNIT,” he said.
The former presidential spokesperson further chastised the Trade Union Congress (TUC) representatives on the board for the predicaments of SSNIT, saying his advice fell on deaf ears.
“I have no desire to paint anybody or an institution bad…why would you think I will go to the court and be jostling around the court everyday…the workers representatives sitting on the board did not even bother. Nobody even picked up a phone to call and ask what is it that you are looking for? We are on this board and we are your representatives why is it that you haven’t come to speak to us? Tell us what exactly have you found out that we don’t know sitting on this board. Even when making a phone call to them, they don’t pick up. It was deliberate.”
When asked by host of the Citi Breakfast Show, Bernard Avle on whether the board should be held responsible for the development, Mr. Awuni said “the board of every organization is ultimately responsible for what happens in that organization…if a company is going to exceed its mandate, the board takes control. That is why former board chairmen are running around talking to the media trying to explain what happened to the software because they know that ultimately, that is where the investigations will end.”