Mr Vitus Azem, GII Executive Secretary
Mr Vitus Azem, GII Executive Secretary

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), has urged government to extend the National Service Secretariat (NSS) investigations to cover past officials who might have initiated the scandal, but were no longer at post.

Mr Vitus Azem, GII Executive Secretary
Mr Vitus Azem, GII Executive Secretary

Mr Vitus Azem, GII Executive Secretary, said if any of them was found to be culpable, he or she should be made to refund the money and also face the full rigours of the law.

?The NSS scandal has just come out, it is not the first to have happened, it may not be the last. The point is that our systems are not working. We have put laws in place, we?ve put systems in place, but we don?t ensure those systems work.

?Does the NSS have an internal audit? Who supervises the NSS? What does the board do? Do they submit financial accounts to the board for approval at the end of each year? Has the board ever gone round to visit the districts to see what the service people are doing there?

?Have they taken head accounts of NSS personnel of students who have graduated from the Universities every year?. So we put in place measures, but we are not enforcing those measures. That is what is happening. That is what has happened at the NSS. That is what is happening in other places,? Mr Azem said in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

?There are jobs, and if you talk of ghost names, you employ a teacher and you wait for six months before you pay the teacher. Meanwhile those six months, the teacher is sitting in the house, so someone says; look you have not worked for the six months, so let?s share the month.

?I will repeat this: Some officials in some banks are colluding with public officials to steal money from government, and any investigations of the NSS, or any other case of ghost names must include the banks, which were used as conduit for passing this money through.?

On why corruption is still thriving in the country, the Executive Secretary said that ?greed is the main cause of corruption; we want to live life above what we can afford. Everybody wants to build beautiful houses, to have more than one car, yet that is not what you are earning.?

?The second thing is the fact that the systems are not working, even if you are greedy, but you are not able to steal, then definitely you won?t steal, but the systems are not working and we are not penalizing people for corruption.?

Mr Azem urged state officials to resist corruption themselves, and take action against corrupt officials.

?We all need to mobilize against corruption. Corruption is harmful to everybody, whether you are in the private or in the public sector. Few individuals may benefit but at the end of the day, the whole nation suffers,? he stated.

Last week, Alhaji Alhassan Mohammed Imoro, Executive Director of the NSS was remanded by an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly stealing Gh? 86.9 million from state coffers, to re-appear on Monday October 27.

Investigations conducted by the Bureau of National Investigations, indicate that a total of 22,612 ghost names were generated at the headquarters of the NSS, resulting in the loss of Gh?7.9million in July alone.

According to the prosecution, from the month of September 2013 to July 2014 Alhaji Imoro stole a total sum of Gh?86.9 million from state coffers.
The discovery led to the suspension of Alhaji Imoro, and 22 other officials.

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