Executive Director of the National Service Scheme (NSS), Mr Mustapha Ussif, has revealed that the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is still keeping an amount of GH¢6.5 million belonging to the scheme as an exhibit in a case.
According to him, the BNI in their operation to collect money allegedly taken from service personnel allowances account created the BNI Director’s account to deposit the money in.
Mr Ussif made the disclosure when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to queries of the 2016 Auditor General Report.
Mr Ussif’s response followed a question by Mr Sam George, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Pampram why the GH¢6.5 million should be put in BNI Director’s account.
Mr Ussif’s also explained that when the scheme was hit by the ghost names scandal, the investigation body that was assigned by government to investigate the matter was the BNI.
He said the BNI in their operation then decided to create a special account to collect money allegedly taken from service personnel allowance account by the district officers, regional officers and national officers of the NSS who were implicated in the scandal.
He said when he assumed office and went through his handing over notes and the Auditor General’s Report he officially wrote to the then BNI Director and also requested to meet to discuss how those monies could be refunded to the NSS.
He said the BNI in their response stated that because the case was still pending in court and they were using the money as an exhibit, until the case was concluded they would not release it back to the scheme.
However, Mr Sam George who was not satisfied with the answer from the NSS Boss asked Mr James Klutse Avedze, Chairman of PAC to give his ruling on the matter.
“I do not see how the GH¢6.5 million sitting in the BNI’s account and not being sent back to chest as evidence. Once there is a bank statement that shows that those recoveries were made from the various districts into the specialised account that should be sufficient for any legal prosecution,” he added.
The NSS was rocked by ghost names in 2014, which led to the arrest and criminal prosecution of several officers, including; the then Executive Director, Alhaji Alhassan Mohammed Imoro and 34 others.
A BNI report suggests that between September 2013 to August 2014 the then Executive Director and 34 others including; all Regional Directors and other senior officers bloated the payroll with as many as with 31,516 ghost names for both the National Service postings and the National Voluntary Service recruitment.
All these ghost names benefited from GH¢243.00 and GH¢350.00 paid to national service persons in that year suggesting the money went into the pockets of those who were behind the plot.