A member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has questioned the involvement of the National Security Secretariat in ongoing investigations into alleged fraud at the National Service Scheme.
The Board of Directors of the Scheme, on Friday, ordered the entire management to proceed on leave with immediate effect; to allow the National Security to continue investigations into how GhÈ¼7.9 million was paid to over 22,000 non-existent national service personnel in in about 100 districts in July 2014.
“These actions by the Board is informed by its strong desire and determination to pave way for the on-going investigations into the operations of the Scheme and to ensure that all persons who may be found culpable are appropriately sanctioned according to law,” the statement signed by Chair of the Board, Mrs. Gifty Mahama noted.
The directive followed an emergency Board meeting at the National Secretariat of the Scheme in Accra. It was held behind closed doors. Staff at the Secretariat were later briefed on the decisions reached.
But speaking later on Top Story on Joy FM, Mr. Afenyo-Markin accused the National Security Secretariat of trying to gain popular favour by relaying sensitive information from its findings to the media.
In his view, Parliament should have been called upon to investigate the scheme while the findings are referred to the National Security Secretariat for action.
“This issue of National Security is neither here nor there…they are just playing to the gallery,” the Member of Parliament for Effutu constituency in the Central Region observed.
According to him, the situation became widespread because state institutions such as the Auditor General’s Department, that are mandated to regularly audit the accounts of the scheme have failed in their job.
He, therefore, urged the Ministry of Education to ensure it is consistent with its supervisory role over the scheme to avoid recurrence of the situation.
Payment of allowances on hold
Meanwhile, payment of allowances to service personnel who completed their programme last month plus those who have just begun theirs this month, will continue to be put on hold pending a directive from the National Security Secretariat.
According to Public Relations Officer, Ambrose Entsiwah Jr, “the decision to pay [personnel] does not lie with the National Service Scheme…it lies with the National Security”.
“Up until they give us the green light to pay them we will not have the ability to do so,” Mr. Entsiwah Jnr told the presenter, Evans Mensah.