The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says reports in The Finder newspaper indicating that workers’ contributions of GH¢2.8bn are in a mess are untrue.

According to the institution, the article dated March 30, failed to present the Trust’s responses captured in the Auditor-General’s report to the issues raised.

In a press statement dated April 1, SSNIT indicated that although the audit was taken December 31, 2019, the major issues raised predates the present administration with some matters going as far back as 2009.

On the matter of a GH¢773 million debt owed to SSNIT by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), the Department is said to have been able to settle GH¢665.48 million of the total amount.

“This is made up of the payment of GH¢430 million and a tradable bond of GH¢235 million as of June, 2019. Subsequently, CAGD has transferred GHS 2.33 billion to cover part of the debt owed SSNIT. A payment plan has been put in place and Management will keep engaging CAGD and the Ministry of Finance to ensure compliance,” parts of the statement explained.

Also, regarding the payment of pension to pensioners above the age of 72 without the renewal of certificate, the 4-paged statement noted that no policies were flouted and this has been clarified after extensive discussions between SSNIT and the Auditor-General.

Management further stated that the “Trust will continue to pay every pensioner as long as they are alive.”

Some other issues raised and addressed in the press statement include the National Trust Holdings Company (NTHC) loan in 2012 which has been converted into equity and preference shares, the Klagon & Sakumono housing projects being executed by RSS Limited, the Fidan Construction court case expected to resume 2021, properties of SSNIT being handled by Messrs Broll Ghana Limited and dismissed staff of the Trust.

According to the Auditor-General, SSNIT failed to conform to the dictates of Section 91 (1) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 leading to $185 million being locked up in the Klagon & Sakumono housing project in the Greater Accra Region.

But in a detailed explanation, the Trust revealed that the project saw a downturn because a number of real estate developers were caught in the unexpected economic slowdown during the implementation of the project.

“This created a glut in the market of the types of housing units being built by RSS. The significant change in the scope of the project at the company level resulted in the project cost being significantly different from the original estimated cost.

“Under the current Management, an asset-liability matching exercise has been done following which the SSNIT Board approved the swap of debt owed SSNIT by RSS with completed housing units. The shareholders agreed to this swap at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of the company.”

“The Trust has put in place a new Investment Policy and Guidelines document with stricter and more rigorous processes to guide such transactions in the future.”

Highlighting the institution’s properties being handled by Messrs Broll Ghana Limited since 2016, SSNIT also indicated that a revised management agreement between Broll and SSNIT has been drawn up and is being strictly adhered to to ensure that legal action is taken against tenants who have withheld the payment of Rent/Common Area Maintenance (CAM) Charges.

Meanwhile, SSNIT has introduced the distribution of electronic Statements of Account to all SSNIT members as part of measures to cut down cost in printing statements, improve transparency and boost the confidence of members in the scheme.

“The Trust assures all contributors, pensioners and the public that it will at all times manage workers’ social security contributions judiciously to safeguard the ability to continue paying monthly pensions,” the statement concluded.