Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has served notice the Government will be demanding answers from, and sanction persons who failed in their duties to ensure all workers were paid in time for Christmas.

Some public sector workers have had to spend a dry Christmas because their accounts were not credited with their December salaries, which should have been paid along with three months’ arrears of the Single Spine pay ordered by President J.E.A. Mills.

Samuel Ablakwa who served the warning while speaking on Radio Gold’s Alhaji and Alhaji programme Saturday, said the Government was “deeply, deeply sad” about the development and notified the Controller and Accountant General and his staff as well as all others whose duty it was but failed to ensure the President’s wishes and orders were carried through to be ready with answers.

“Let me state quite unequivocally, that as a government we are deeply, deeply sad about the fact that some Ghanaian workers appear not to have received their salaries. The president had directed more than a month ago that December salaries should be paid on or before the 15th of December and all arrangements were put in place for that.

“The Controller and Accountant General’s Department was aware, the Bank of Ghana was aware of that directive it’s quite disheartening,” he said.

Ablakwa said he had personally received a number of calls from across the country from frustrated workers who complained their salaries had not been paid as at 22nd and 23rd December.

“I think that we need to make the point quite strongly that people put in positions must make sure that they assist the President. When the President gives directives and makes arrangements they must abide by them and I hope that this matter will be seriously looked into to come to a clear understanding of where we had the difficulties and who is accountable for this. And there should be some sanctions because it’s totally unacceptable for the President’s wish and directive that salaries be paid by December 15 and that it should also come with three months arrears of the Single Spine Salary Structure, so by the President’s preparations and arrangements that he made, Ghanaian workers should have had a very, very exciting Christmas, very joyous Christmas and so I am particularly interested in the answers as to what accounted for this delay and I hope that the Controller and Accountant General and his staff are listening and government will be demanding answers for what has accounted for this delay…”

No sooner had the Deputy Information Minister concluded his submission on the issue than Mr. Ralf Tuffour, the Controller and Accountant General joined the programme via phone to explain that all salaries had been paid as at December 21, explaining that the problem appear to him to be internal problems within some of the banks.

He said the Bank of Ghana had transferred sums on 16th, 19th, 20th and 21st December to the banks to credit the accounts of workers but his information was that while some of the banks were paying, others were not paying.

Ralf Tuffour also alleged some persons were playing mischief with the complaints because “when they call in and you ask them for their names and their staff number, they cut off the line because they don’t want to talk further, all that they want to say is that they have not gotten their salary.”

Samuel Abu Jinapor, Aide to New Patriotic Party flagbearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said public sector workers since Independence have received their December pay on time and listening to the Accountant General, his explanations begged the issue.

“I think that the Ghanaian people are tired of excuses. The Ghanaian people are tired of excuses, excuse upon excuse. Since Nkrumah’s reign up to date, workers have always been paid before Christmas well ahead of time. Something dramatic must have gone wrong to the extent that some workers have not been paid as we speak today and for the Accountant General to make the point or the create the impression that some people deliberately just call onto FM stations and lie about not receiving their pay, for me is most unfortunate…”

Abu Jinapor said the complaints by the workers are genuine complaints and that if a government should be held accountable for anything, it should not be workers’ salaries. He said the delay should never have happened in the first place and so should the excuse never have been countenanced.

“And we are also getting overly tired of a President who gives directives over and over again and they are flouted. President gives a directive that he is not going to receive hampers, his staff should not receive hampers and on a daily basis hampers are flying all over the place, he gives a directive that nobody should watch television in his office in public offices and as I speak to you now televisions are shown everyday in public offices. The president gives a directive that ministers should not travel to the World Cup in South Africa and ministers ignore it and travel to, I think that we are getting too tired of it…”