The invitation of the Municipal Chief Executive Officer (MCE) of Kpone-Kantamanso, Solomon Tettey Appiah, by the then Special Prosecutor (SP), Mr. Martin Amidu and the Commission on Human Right and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) recently was of no surprise to the people of the Municipality.
Mr Appiah has since his assumption of office has adopted an autocratic leadership skills.
He has on may occasions been accused by community members including his own party members of embezzling funds meant for development of the area.
His criminal charges are therefore before the Commissioner General of CHRAJ and the Special Prosecutor.
Information picked is pointing to the fact that he allegedly contributed to the fall of the NPP in the area.
People especially, members of the NPP in the Municipality have alleged that the MCE’s attitude and conduct has affected the NPP’s chances in the recent general elections.
Below is a petition sent to President Akufo-Addo by some Loyalists of the party;
PETITION TO THE PRESIDENT OF GHANA, NANA ADDO DANKWAH AKUFO ADDO RE: FINANCIAL MALPRACTICE, CONFLICT OF INTEREST, CORRUPTION AND FRAUD BEING PERPETRATED AT KPONE-KATAMANSO MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY
FROM: SOLOMON WYATT MACGAFFEY
Your Excellency, I wish to draw your attention to certain acts of the Kpone Katamanso Municipal Assembly which totally goes contrary to your administrative principles for which you appointed Hon. Solomon Tettey Appiah as the Chief Executive Officer of Kpone – Katamanso Municipal Assembly.
In your acceptance speech during your inauguration on 7th January, 2017, you admonished all Ghanaians to be citizens and not spectators, I also understand how you frown on corruption and illegal acts, as a result, I take the challenge to write as a citizen, one who believe that our institutional systems must be allowed to work and one who also believes in your ideals thus frowns on corruption.
This way, I believe your ideals and quest to develop this Nation will be further enhance because resources would be safe guarded and utilized for developmental purposes that would go to properly institute your legacy of corrupt free society
1. ROAD CONSTRUCTION:
The picture below is one of such troublesome roads constructed by the assembly at shanghai and kokompe, suburbs of the Kpone-Katamanso Municipal Assembly (KKMA) under the direct supervision of the Municipal Chief Executive, and the Municipal Coordinating Director. So much funds have been expended even beyond the approved budgeted amount for roads construction. The picture below you see is not a sealed/tarred road with chippings, rather, it is WASTE! (Waste product from the production of steel which was obtained from the sentuo steel company) that has been used as though it is bitumen and gravel on the road, in fact not good for human health, to the extent that presently, residents are complaining of chest pains and nasal infections that they suddenly started suffering since such material was dumped on the road just to mimic a tarred road all in deception and waste of resources. To the extent that, the ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY (EPA) came to warn the assembly to desist from using such a waste hazardous material to spread on the road, This EPA warning to the assembly is captured in the minutes of the last works sub-committee in August 2019 and could be requested by your office to authenticate this warning by the EPA. The 2019 Mid-year budget review captures an expenditure on feeder roads being GHC 815,321.00, drainage GHC 741,603.35 just from January to August this year.
Your Excellency, The Municipal Chief Executive being your appointee to serve the community interest through your good policies for the people of kpone-katamanso should have known far better that people could link the health dangers posed from the hazardous materials to the indigenes of the area to you and the government. The personal interest of the MCE and the MCD should not be above the interest of the state and your good policies for the area, I call on you to institute investigation into such actions to avoid the aggravation of the situation in Kpone.
2. FAKE RECEIPTS TO RETIRE PAYMENT VOUCHES (PVs)
A public servant and a self-acclaim personal assistant to the Chief Executive Mrs Gertrude Abebleh is engaged in absolute fraud at the assembly milking the poor indigenes of their tax money, she has fake receipt books design by her which is being issued to cover all inflated figures, it is of concern why the Municipal Chief Executive Hon. Solomon Tettey Appiah and the Municipal Coordinating Director Mr Micheal Owusu-Amoako will be very much interested in protecting such corrupt act instead of rather ensuring that those corrupt acts are prevented to save guard the assembly’s resources for better use and to meet the obligation of the assembly. A company by name HECELL CATERING SERVICES AND HECELL BUSINESS ENTERPRISE are the two companies used to perpetrate this dubious deals, milking the assembly’s resources at the blind side of everyone, Invoices and receipts are done in the name of this company which is used by this officer as a conduit to execute this terrible and fraudulent activities on the people of Kpone-katamanso, this is conflict of interest, fraud and stealing, such people should be washed from the system. All Payment voucher in the name of this officer should be investigated, I took the pain to investigate this dubious act when everything in the assembly was always given to this particular lady to handle by the chief executive and the coordinating director, I suspected some dubious deals and had to investigate for hard core evidence before putting up a fight against such corrupt act, I stand against corruption and will fight it no matter who is involved.
3. CONTRACTS AND PROCUREMENT BREACH:
Your excellency, the procurement act, act 663 was well thought through to ensure that corruption is curtailed or eliminated, this I believe was to ensure value for money in all services the public organizations render to the citizenry, it is on the basis of the act that the procurement unit has been established in all the assemblies under the local government service in Ghana and further state their functions as follows 1. Receive procurement request from originating officers, checks that the approved procurement is within the plan. 2. Coordinate the preparation of specification, terms of reference, bills of quantities etc. 3. Coordinating the process of opening of tenders and quotations 4. arranging the publication of advertisements and notices of contracts award. Public procurement has remained an area prone to mismanagement, corruption under the circumstances of the assembly structure where the coordinating directors and the chief executives become so powerful rendering the procurement officers useless and in many cases transfers are used to intimidate such officers into doing their bidding.
2017 – 2019 alone had about 1,069,153.22 expended on local, external consultancy and contingency, one wonders as to what exactly those consultancy did or was contracted to do for the assembly, there has not been any report of work done by these so called external consultants and at no material time was there any management meeting convened where the agenda captured the need to hire any such external consultants? Of what value for money has the assembly derived out of this whooping amount? Has all these gone through procurement processes? Which individuals were behind such consultancy firms which bided, how did the assembly arrive at the winning consultancy firm? it is proper to invite the losing firms as they usually just use names of firms without owners awareness just for documentation purposes, thus if procurement processes were even followed.
The Assembly also purchased an old second hand vehicle in the name of ambulance which is against the law for government agency to be purchasing such old vehicle, what value for money analysis was done to arrive at such wanton expenditure, did that go through procurement?
4. THE TIER 2 OF THE STAFF PAID BY KKMA IGF:
There are two forms of staff at kpone-katamanso and across all the assemblies in Ghana, thus, those paid by central government and those paid through the Internal Generated Funds (IGF) of the assemblies, the issues in this case is about the TIER 2 PENSION CONTRIBUTION OF THE IGF staff, The national pension act, 2008 (Act 766) mandates staff of the local government service to contribute (5%) of their monthly salary into the scheme of which the monthly deduction are actually done every month, however, it has come to light that the Assembly has not been paying, in fact the last time the assembly paid the tier 2 was February, 2015, all efforts to know how much such monies has accrued since February, 2015 has proven futile and resulted to my transfer, the pay slips of staff is attached for your verification, I am drawing your attention to this particular issue so that your outfit could find out where those deductions are and into which account such funds are lodged and the reason why it has not been transferred to Hedge funds even though the local government service has directed all Assemblies to do so. The monies should be in a separate account and should have been transferred to hedge fund once the directive came from the local government service and the staff had filled the hedge forms, if the monies are not in an account, then where is the amount deducted? And to which account.
5. UNLAWFUL DEDUCTIONS OF IGF SALARIES AS LOCAL GOVERNMENT UNION DUES.
When I took over as the head of Human Resource Department in 2018, I received complaints from the Non mechanized staff (IGF Staff) of some deductions on their salary as local government workers union dues which most of them never understood since they never filled any form or agreed to join, their complaints was on the fact that such union does not negotiate on their salary nor involve them in anything they do, hence there was no reason or benefit to be in such union and why management will sit down to allow such deductions to continue on their pay slips, they collectively came together with signed sheet of notice opting out of the union, I approached the coordinating director with this subject and subsequently wrote a memo copy to the Municipal Chief Executive and the Coordinating Director, Finance, Audit and Budget for such deductions to stop. The officer fronting the deductions is Mrs. Gertrude Abebleh, she picks the cheque every month from the assembly accounts office and God knows what she does with it, the staff is demanding refund of their monies dating back June 2016 –August 2019. One should not be allowed based on your connection with the chief executive, Coordinating Director and the finance officer to perpetrate such act on innocent and vulnerable staff, many of whom receive as little as 240-268 cedis even below the minimum wage which in itself is a crime punishable by law. The shocking revelation is that the cheques are signed by the coordinating director hence he supervises this huge crime, the people since January 2019, have been paid below the minimum wage and the Human Resource department has since have tough time with management to consider adopting the 2015 single spine salary structure for the staff and has gone ahead to write officially to management attaching a proposal and no such union member ever approach Human Resource or management to discuss any welfare issues concerning such staff, this simply shows that the lady in questions interest was the money she receives in the name of the union.
6. UNEARNED SALARIES OF EXPIRED CONTRACT STAFF
A couple of staff who were engaged on contract bases had expired and a letter was written informing them about the end of contract, however, they were asked to continue working by the Coordinating Director without renewing their contract, some of them beyond 70 years, the condition of local government service has made it clear not to engage people who are 65 years and above, going through the files of staff will reveal this anomalies, the local government service has a staff norm indicating ceilings of staff to be recruited and the process of recruitment, all these policies are ignored. I believe every coordinating director is to ensure that policies of local government are fully implemented and procedures followed but in the case of Mr. Michael Owusu-Amoako
He seems not to care about those policies and procedures properly crafted by the service and doing what he feels, he has no regards whatsoever for any staff or head of department/Units, he thinks by been the coordinating director he has absolute control over every office and all officers needs to do, is to do what he says or you are transferred at his request, he leaves the assembly and travel without handing over, I believe the policy of vacation of post covers every staff under the service which includes the coordinating director, that is why in the HR manual staff are mandating to hand over when proceeding on leave, the coordinating director needs to be an exemplary leader following this policies but the opposite is done and when you draw his attention to such policies, he become furious and makes you feel that he is the coordinating director and can do as he feels, he travelled last year outside the country and many of the staff including HR had no idea about his where about and no handing over, he return to office before writing a letter to cover up when some Assembly members raised issues about it.
5. KKMA CONSULTANCY SERVICE ENGAGEMENT:
Upon the Chief Executive assuming office in 2017, he caused the HR department through the Coordinating Director to write appointment letter recruiting one Mr JONAS ABLADEY a close friend to the Chief Executive as safety, health and environmental consultant to the assembly, this was done with total disrespect to the terms of engagement as stipulated in the Human resource manual of the Local Government service page 24 title 220.127.116.11 Consultancy engagement, it state ‘ The service may engage consultants to offer specialized professional and advisory services for specified contract periods. In procuring the services of a consultant the service shall comply with the provisions of the public procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) it further states that the service shall ensure that the terms and conditions of the contractual agreement are fully complied with.’ In the case of Mr. Jonas Abladey engagement the specific period is not clearly defined as the HR manual spelt out but rather basing it to the consultant deciding when he is able to devise strategies to generate revenue for the assembly, God have mercy upon us. When I took over as HR, I discovered this irregularities and brought it to the current Coordinating Director but unfortunately as his usual style, he said he did not want to have anything to do with it, though the appointment letter was done by the previous Coordinating Director, he handed over assets and liabilities, hence, it was prudent to review the contract and do the right thing especially when HR had brought it up. We cannot continue abusing the public purse this way and is high time people with integrity stand up against the wrong, no matter the consequences, the public service have had lots of public attacks because of the bad nuts among us and some of us can no longer sit and watch such things to go on, I am 100% sure that none of them would have engage such officer if this was their private organization.
The local Government service in all the MMDAs across the country has enough environmental officers in charge of dealing with sanitation, health and safety issues within the municipalities, KKMA alone has over 15 officers in the Environmental unit most of whom has no office space to work, yet, the consultant is paid 3,000 cedis monthly with a fully furnish office and vehicle whilst the substantive officers do not have even a bicycle to work with, which competent Coordinating Director and chief executive will supervise such thing, if I may ask, what is the definition of Temporal? How much has the assembly paid to the consultant over the two years period? What has the Assembly gained over such payments and all the fuel and office space available to him? Will any of us have engaged a consultant this way if all the cost were to come from our pockets? I fill pity for mother Ghana with these attitudes and I don’t care syndrome.
6. END OF YEAR PACKAGE:
On 10th December, 2018, as the head of Human Resource Department I wrote a memo as directed by management to request for end of year package for staff, the memo was written with all the breakdown on it but the Finance Officer, Mr Bright Ametepeh requested that I take out the breakdown and make it open, I decline to that request on grounds that an open memo could give room for someone to add any number which could make it difficult to account for should issues arise later, the memo was submitted for approval of 442 bags of rice to be bought based on the total number of staff, Assembly members, National service personnel etc. however, my memo was withdrawn from the system and the procurement officer was made to write a different memo making it open so room could be created to add more bags in name of staff, all this was done behind the HR, I later discovered that over 640 bags was bought instead of the original bags I requested, an excess of 200 bags was bought and one is wondering for who and why? Base on the corrupt act, the HR department had no idea about the rice been bought, where it was offloaded and how it was distributed to staff, we cannot allow public servants to continue to abuse public funds entrusted into their hands for personal gains, we all have a duty to hold them accountable for their actions and inactions. The Procurement officer Mr. Richard later called to apologize to me for the wrong been done upon my confrontation, he made me aware of the directive that was given to him to change the memo to cover the excess, he admitted the wrong and drew my attention to the wrongs been done especially the procurement breaches, I advise him to stay strong and do not continue to allow greedy people to use him for their personal gains. I made it clear it was criminal and that I will not tolerate such criminal act at the blind side of public funds.
7. SALARIES OF IGF STAFF:
Salaries determination is done on two things, by the employee grade of post to correspond with the level or job weight which shall be set on the appropriate notch based on the scheme of service, the salary ranges are set at or above specified levels in the designated single spine salary structure (SSSS) with internal equity taken into consideration, internal equity here means, comparison of positions within your business or organization to ensure fair pay, the emphasis is that workers must be paid fairly compared to their coworkers, otherwise they might feel unvalued. In computing compensation, the following elements, among others ought to be taken into consideration. 1. Tripartite Agreement (Determination of National Minimum wage). 2. Approved Establishment Ceilings, 3. Labour Act (Act 651), 4. Approved manpower ceiling etc. The Assembly currently do not pay salaries with any salary structure hence violating numerous laws of the country, the incompetent Coordinating Director who should have known much better as per what the office require of Municipal Coordinating Director is in fact leading the course of this illegalities, I have constantly made several attempts as the Head of Human Resource Department to ensure that these laws are abide by, but his lack of knowledge and gross disrespect to staff and mankind always take center stage at such engagements. On 26th July, 2018, the National Tripartite Committee (NTC) concluded negotiations on the determination of the 2019 National Daily Minimum Wage (NDMW) effective, 1st January, 2019, the committee directed that all establishment, institutions or organizations whose daily minimum wage was below the new minimum wage should adjust its wages upward with effect from Jannuary 1st, 2019, it further warned that any establishment, institution or organization which flouts the new rate will be sanctioned in accordance with the law, the three man committee running the Assembly with impunity has flout the directive of the Tripartite committee for far too long, the Assembly members in their wisdom approved a Ten percent (10%) salary increase for the staff been paid on the Assembly internal Generated funds couple and the HR recommendation to adopt 2015 salary structure to avoid sanctions all was ignored. It is sad to see people walking home every month receiving below the minimum wage and some as little as 240 cedis.
The Local Government service has developed beautiful and well thought policies and procedures to guide officers and its establishments; however, these are ignored by Mr. Micheal Owusu-Amoako whose personal interest is above the overall objectives of the service thereby undermining heads of departments’ inputs. If all the above are flouted with impunity, then I wonder what such officer is still doing at Kpone-Katamanso Municipal Assembly, a number of staff whose contract had expired was brought to the Coordinating Director attention for further action to be taken but to my surprise, he paid no attention to it, after several attempts by the HR department to get him to understand the implication of doing nothing about it, the department wrote to the officers to inform them about the end of their contract copy to the MCE, MCD, BUDGET, INTERNAL UNIT AND FINANCE OFFICER but the Municipal Coordinating Director asked them to continue working and directed that their salary be paid even without renewing their contracts, since January, 2019 all salaries received by such officers is deemed as unearned salaries and needs to be refunded by the Coordinating Director for promoting illegality at the expense of the Assembly.
Salary payment vouchers are to pass through internal audit to certify before cheque will be written for payments however, for KKMA salary payments does not pass through internal audit and the HR has no input either, instances where the HR wrote memo of vacation of post of certain officers directive stoppage of salaries, the memo are ignored and payments continues, our mandate as technocrats is to implement government policies but this current leaders have other. The financial act, has in it that the financed department is NOT to raise memo for payments, however, in the case of KKMA, memos for salaries are raised by the financed office at KKMA, supervised by the coordinating Director and one is wondering what at all he is coordinating, the wrong or the right?
8. INTERNAL AUDIT AND FINANCE:
Your Excellency, as you are aware the Metropolitan, Municipal, District Assemblies (MMDAs) is a segment of the public sector under the local government, entrusted with public resources and charged with the task of ensuring proper utilization of such resources. To optimize the utilization of those resources entrusted to public officials, laws and regulations are enacted to control expenditure and sources of financing this expenditure. I have no doubt that to ensure adherence to the financial regulations , laid down procedures, policies and plans that the internal audit unit was established by well-meaning and intellectual people of our great country, you will agree with me that the survival of every organization depends on its effective and efficient utilization of resources both financial and non-financial) that is why the internal Audit unit is vested with the power of independent checks, in order to assess compliance with established rules and regulations of the organizations. Despite the powers vested on internal auditors and the fact that the internal audit unit exist in KKMA with all the internal control system in place, the acts of financial malfeasance still continue to grow, I must state that internal auditors are not independent especially here at KKMA making it difficult to work objectively. Many fraudulent activities are perpetrated behind their blind side and in some cases they are been pushed to pass PVs which ought not pass, so many expenditure have occurred without going through internal audit, the special auditing proposed will unravel all the irregularities if the request is granted.
Your Excellency, I suggest the special prosecutor or special auditors are sent to KKMA to review all expenditures, policies, plans and procedures from 2017 to 2019 by comparing the bank statement against Payment vouchers (P.V.), Policies and procedures of local government service to ensure value for money, efficient and effective utilization of resources.
7. CONFLICT OF INTEREST BY THE COORDINATING DIRECTOR, MICHAEL OWUSU-AMOAKO.
A truck with registration number, GW 1149-17 is the same vehicle that they use to convey the waste material from the sentuo steel company to spread on the roads being constructed within the assembly and it is always parked at the assembly’s premises without paying rent, it is however, used for the services of the assembly by the MUNICIPAL COORDINATING DIRECTOR (MCD) and his gang of three to make money for themselves, if this act is not checked and stopped immediately the assembly will be milked into poverty whilst few gets richer. If I may ask, is it normal practice to have trucks of such nature to be parked at the premises of the assembly and for what purpose? I want to use this opportunity to call for an investigation to be conducted into this particular vehicle and for the coordinating director to be investigated on conflict of interest to ensure that the vehicle is not used to short change the assembly.
8. PURCHASE OF OLD/OUT OF USE TRUCK WITH THE ASSEMBLY CONTAINER ON IT
This unregistered old vehicle picture affixed above was parked at the assembly’s premises and now has the assembly container on it. It has been unilaterally purchased by the MCE for the Assembly without recourse to the procurement procedures/Laws of the country. In fact, the internal auditors have no idea as to how this was purchased, neither was the environmental unit of the assembly brought in during negotiations. The municipal assembly needs to be investigated on this issue as to who the owner is, why is it using the assembly container on it? Are they trying to purchase an old vehicle just as they did with the so called ambulance? Is it the case that the MCE bought it as his personal property and made payments with the resources of the assembly with which he is actively doing private business with using the container of the assembly? What is the arrangement of such vehicle with the assembly because such vehicle never came to management meeting for discussion and cannot be found in any minutes of our management meetings, enquiries at the environmental office units suggests that they do not have any idea about the vehicle and does not understand why such vehicle has the assembly’s scape/container on, but they have chosen to remain mute for fear of victimization. On the day that the external auditors began their work, this vehicle was quickly removed from the premises and our investigations into its whereabouts led us reveled that it still had the assembly’s container on it even at where they hid it
It is high time the authorities rise against officials who want to use their given power to enrich themselves at the expense of the poor they so claim to serve.
Something needs to be done and done fast before the assembly is brought on its knees.
CONCLUSION; I believe as stated by the senior Minister Hon. Yaw Osafo Marfo that the systems in Ghana can work just like other countries did if we can all insist on the right thing despite the resistance from the corrupt once among us, I have done my part as a citizen and counting on you for your part, just so the policies and procedures expected of us to implement are done without fear or favour, the money entrusted in the hands of public servants is to ensure that they help develop the district and officers are to ensure that the mandate is achieved.
I would want to believe that your office would attach some urgency to quickly effect some acts that will make the people sit up to do that which is right by conducting a thorough investigations into the affairs of the assembly. Speaking to some of my colleagues in other assemblies, the indication is that this fraudulent acts and total disregards for instituted policies and procedures happen in many other assemblies across the country. If so, then the task is daunting but if only your outfit would use a few well-resourced assemblies as case studies and make publications of your findings and the necessary punitive measures meted out to offending officers in time, the rest would desist and that will save the nation much resource for developmental purposes.
The Petitioners also attached copies of documents as evidence of some of the issues raised to their petition.