NSS scam: Board may be liable

Legal practitioner Samson Lardy Anyenini has warned that the board of the National Service Scheme (NSS) may not absolve itself from possible culpability in the scandal that hit the scheme.

Twenty-three directors of the NSS have been directed to step aside for attempting to bribe officials of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) investing payroll fraud at the Secretariat.

Board Chairperson of the NSS, Gifty Mahama, after a crisis meeting last Thursday, issued a statement directing the 23 to proceed on leave to pave way for further investigations into allegations that managers of the NSS ballooned the payroll by over 22,000 services and defrauded the state of 7.9 million Ghana cedis.

Bureau of National Investigation officials investigating the fraud claim they were offered 200,000 cedis in bribe to cease investigations.

The Director of National Service, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, allegedly paid a total 100,000 cedis with 22 other directors of the Scheme paying the remaining 100,000 cedis.

The governing Board said the 23 directors could not remain in office whilst the investigations continued and therefore asked them to step aside.

But sources close to say the board was fully aware of some of the payments and indeed sanctioned same.

“It would appear the NSS Board was actually or constructively aware and approved a scheme to increase the numbers of service persons (ghost personnel) as a means of raising funds to run the NSS's various internal projects including maize and tilapia farms to generate funds which were later shared among the district, regional and national offices for the running of the NSS in the absence of government funding,” Mr Anyenini stated on his facebook page.

According to him, “apart from the GhS 100.000, other alleged bribe cash was received by auditors and receipted as 'regular' feeding cash for audit rounds.”

He believes that following the development, the board, which had the supervisory responsibility to oversee the operations of the NSS cannot absolve itself of blame.

“If so, then you may fix liability on the decision maker but can the [implementer] suffer same or any? How easy or difficult will it be to establish a criminal mind in the said scheme or scam?” Samson Lardy Ayenini quizzed.