The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson, has been relieved of his post. DAILY GUIDE’s sources said the sacking of the SSNIT boss was communicated to him on Monday.
According to sources, Mr Thompson’s dismissal was greeted with excitement by the staff who were of the view that SSNIT was run down under the outgoing Director General, with most of its priced assets, including banks, being disposed of.
The staff also accused Mr Thompson of showing nepotism in employment, as well as promotions, saying some of them had been on one grade for more than eight years.
A member of the Appointments Committee of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Manhyia South, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, at the committee’s sitting last Friday, made a startling revelation about the rot at SSNIT which he said had happened with alleged endorsement of its Board of Directors.
The outgoing SSNIT board is reported to have given approval for the Trust to put a number of its expensive management residential facilities in Accra for sale. The buildings, including six residential properties and two guest houses, are located in plush areas like North Ridge, Cantonments and Airport Residential Area – all in Accra. But there are concerns that the state facilities will be sold at very cheap rates to cronies.
The decision is raising public concerns because some observers believe that SSNIT needed to protect the properties and not dispose of them. Others claim the powerful management members and the board will turn around to buy the said properties for peanuts.
Currently, an inspection report of the state of the buildings has already been given to the management by an ad hoc committee the SSNIT Board set up and a memo has been issued by the company secretary, giving details of the report. The memo, which was signed on Friday, January 6, 2017 – the eve of the inauguration of President Akufo-Addo – and copied to the SSNIT Director General – indicates that the board had considered the report of the ad hoc committee.
“At its 300th meeting held on 5th January, 2017, the Board considered a report by the ad hoc committee of the Board which undertook an inspection tour of some of the Trust’s Management residences at North Ridge, Cantonments and Airport Residential Area in Accra,” the memo signed by Mrs. Gifty J. Annan, company secretary said. According to the memo, the designated Director General’s residence was not included in the decision of the Board. The document, sighted by DAILY GUIDE, gave vivid descriptions of the facilities located on 0.74, 0.11 and 0.35 acres of land that were to be sold.
Ms Gifty Annan indicated that first is a two-storey main building with a detached outhouse, launderette, garage and security post and that the main building provides accommodation for a living/dining, bedrooms, kitchen, store, sanitary and circulatory areas at North Ridge House No 7. The remark of the committee approved by the Board said, “The property was recently renovated to be maintained as Director General’s residence.”
Also, there is a two-storey main building with a detached outhouse, boys quarters and security post where the main building provides accommodation for a living/dining, bedrooms, kitchen, store, sanitary and circulatory areas at No. 58 Ridge. The document said the property was previously used as an executive guest house being occupied by Mr Thompson.
The committee said the facility was “fairly renovated to be sold.” The memo described another facility as a two-storey main building with a detached outhouse and security post located at No. 58A, North Ridge, adding, “The property has similar designs as the one described above and was occupied by a former Director General.” It said the board had approved the facility to be sold because it’s in a poor state. Another two-storey semi-detached main building with an outhouse providing accommodation for a living/dining, bedrooms, kitchen and sanitary areas located at No. 17, Cantonments, has been listed to be sold while five other 2-storey semi-detached main buildings – all with outhouses located at Nos. 18, 20, 21, 22 and 24 in Cantonments – are also being sold.
The committee remarked, “The limited plot size hampers its potential for redevelopment into a modern residence for optimal returns, and therefore, they are to be sold.” According to the memo, there is another 2-storey main building with an outhouse and a detached garage on a 0.35-acre land at Airport Residential Area; and the committee recommended that “The property should be demolished and redeveloped into a modern apartment to generate optimal returns.”
The memo said the management was going to engage “Architectural and Engineering Service Limited to value the properties to be disposed of and revert to the Board.” It also asserted,
“The sale is to be advertised and bidders should be required to submit bid bonds as was done in the case of the disposal of the Wa and Bolgatanga properties,” adding that “due process should be followed accordingly.” SSNIT on January 13, 2017 issued another memo signed by Gabriel N.O. Sackey requesting for “the necessary title documents on the properties to enable us engage Messrs AESL to determine the market values of same.”