A list of 23 directors of the National Service Scheme (NSS) who paid GH¢200,000 as bribe to investigators of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to conceal a GH¢7.9 million financial canker at the NSS has emerged.
A total of GH¢7.9 million was paid to 22,612 non-existent national service persons in more than 100 districts in July 2014.
According to Daily Graphic checks, after hints of massive fraud at the NSS, various sums of money and other items were used in a bid to induce investigators to stop their attempt to uncover the rot.
Top on the list is the Director of the NSS, Alhaji Imoro Alhassan, who the Daily Graphic learnt is currently under investigations and close monitoring.
Ahaji Alhassan allegedly paid GH¢100,000 in his attempt to silence investigators. Efforts by this paper to get his side of the story have proven futile.
The list, which is in the possession of the Daily Graphic, mentions Alhaji Alhassan as having paid GH¢85,000 and GH¢15,000 on two separate occasions.
The Daily Graphic has also gathered that there are video and audio recordings of both the locations and the occasions the said directors paid the bribes to BNI officials.
Aside from the money, smocks, laptops and goats were used by the directors in their effort to entice the BNI officials to either stop or conceal the outcome of the investigations.
Names of district directors
Twenty national service district directors have so far been picked up. More directors were being arrested as of the time of going to press.
According to a BNI source, buses had been deployed to the various districts across the country to transport apprehended directors found to have played various roles in the loss of huge sums of money to the state.
The next highest giver of the bribe after the NSS Boss is the Half Assini District Director of the scheme, Alfred Mensah, who was said to have parted with GH¢26,000.
Another suspect, Seth Laarfa Bekyire, was alleged to have paid GH¢20,000 while Samuel Quansah, Roland Awuni, Stephen Agodoa and Justice Nandi of the Nkwanta South, Nkwanta North, Krachi East and West districts respectively, paid a total of GH¢7,200 as bribe while the district director for the West Mamprusi and Moaduri district, Shaibu Malik, was alleged to have paid GH¢4,000.00 as bribe.
Other names on the bribery list are Hayford Bredzez, Ho Municipality, GH5,000; Mbema Saibu, East Gonja district, GH¢5,000; Samuel Bempong, Kwahu North (Afram Plains), GH¢5,000, Alex Foley, Kenyasi, GH¢5,000, Siibu Mahama, West and North Gonja, GH¢4,000; Tannoh Jones, Bechem, GH¢3,000; Samuel Atta Gyesew, GH¢2,000 and Ralph Alorwu, Atebubu-Amaten, GH¢1,000.
The other district directors who parted with various sums of money and other items to conceal the outcome of the investigations are Lamini Mohammed, Tano North, GH¢3,000 and two Samsung laptop computers; Ibrahim Musah, Yendi, four smocks; Greater Accra Regional director of NSS, Nana Diasekapa Obugyei II, GH¢2,000.00; Charles Ekpe, Akatsi district, GH¢2000.00; Kena Asiedu, Kwahu West District, GH¢500.00 and Dzokoto Nesta of the Sogakope district paid GH¢700,00.00 as bribe to BNI officials.
Investigations are ongoing to unearth the entire rot to pave the way for the arrest of more people.
According to a BNI source, the GH¢7.9 million represented the allowance paid to 22,612 non-existent service persons.
It said at the current monthly allowance of GH¢350 per a service person, that meant that at least GH¢7,914,200 was lost to the state every month.
“Annually, about GH¢94,970,400 in undeserved allowances is lost to the state. The number of ghost names is expected to increase when the exercise is completed,” it said.
According to the source, investigators discovered that district directors of the scheme were the sole signatories to the accounts opened in the name of the NSS at the district level.
It said it was also established that National Service directors in the districts and most managers of banks where NSS allowances were lodged “worked closely together in these dubious payments”.
According to the source, the BNI, following reports of massive malfeasance in the postings and the payment of the allowances to National Service personnel, embarked on preliminary investigations in selected districts and discovered that the rot was “pervasive and deep-rooted in all the selected districts”.
“Based on the revelation, the BNI commissioned a nationwide investigation into the operations of the National Service Scheme from July 20, 2014,” the source noted.
HQ generated ghost names
The source said it came up during investigations that the ghost names, which were available in all the district secretariats of the NSS were generated at the headquarters of the NSS in Accra.
It also emerged that the ‘ghost’ service persons were mostly posted to rural areas and, in some cases, non-existent institutions and departments.
“After payments to genuine service personnel, the allowances of the ‘ghosts’ are withdrawn in bulk and shared among district, regional and national officers of the NSS.
“The ghost names are distributed by the NSS Headquarters to its regional directors, who also distribute them to the district national service directors (DNSD),” the source said.
According to the source, most of the district directors broke down and confessed that the booty had been withdrawn in bulk after the genuine service personnel had been paid.
It said some of the directors confessed that the booty was then sent to the regional directors, who doled out 30 per cent to the district directors, while the remaining 70 per cent was shared between some regional directors and directors at the NSS headquarters.