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Organised Labour threatens strike over sale of SSNIT hotels to Rock City 

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The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has warned the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) to abate its intention to sell off its 60% state in four hotels to Minister of Agriculture, Bryan Acheampong’s Rock City Hotel.

The Union says SSNIT is only a caretaker of the hotels whose real owners are the citizens and would not sit aloof for the Trust to sell them to just anyone, especially a Minister of State, citing conflict of interest.

Briefing Journalists in Accra, the Head of Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG), Dr Isaac Bampoe Addo, noted that SSNIT has not followed the guidelines enshrined in the Act that spells out its investment procedures, and should the government go ahead and sell those hotels, they will advise themselves.

“We want government to know that these funds are not government funds. These funds are pension funds, and pensions are guided by Act 766. We have investment guidelines under Act 766, and clearly, these guidelines have not been followed.

“Government should be aware that we will not allow them to play ‘chaskele’ with our funds. Should they dare go ahead, it will be the mother of all strikes in Ghana,” he said.

On his part, Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary-General of the Trades Union Congress, wondered how SSNIT intended to sell off the hotels as if they were in financial distress.

“We find it extremely difficult to understand why SSNIT’s interest in six hotels will be packaged and sold as if all the hotels are in the same financial position,” he said.

“We find it difficult to understand why the original proposal of the sale of SSNIT’s interest in six hotels has reduced to four. We hold the view that this renders the whole process null and void. We have observed that the proposed payment terms have varied from the original MoU [Memorandum of Understanding] based on the recommendations,” he added.

According to Dr. Baah, it is weird that SSNIT couldn’t get anyone other than a politician whose government is in power and is a cabinet minister, to sell the hotels to.

“We also find it difficult to understand why SSNIT’s interest in these hotels should be sold to a company owned by a Minister of State. We do not think this is right,” he added.

As such, Dr Baah said the union is demanding that the sale of SSNIT’s stake be cancelled immediately.

“We are calling on the Minister responsible for pensions to direct the board of trustees of SSNIT to cancel the process immediately; otherwise, we organised labour will advise ourselves.

According to Dr. Baah, they were initially opposed to the sale of the hotels, but the government was bent on selling them off to its party apparatchik.

“We have asked them to halt it earlier. But from all indications, they are rather speeding up the process. We don’t think state properties should be sold to a minister. This smacks of state capture. If the Employment Minister fails to stop the process, we workers will stop the process,” he warned.

The sale came to light after the National Democratic Congress MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, raised an alarm.

The MP has since petitioned the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) calling for an investigation into various allegations, including “conflict of interest, abuse of power, lack of due process, procurement breaches, cronyism, and graft.”

In his petition, Mr Ablakwa highlights what he views as violations of constitutional provisions, specifically citing Articles 78(3) and 98(2) of the 1992 Constitution. He contends that these actions represent significant legal breaches.

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