The Minority caucus in Parliament on Thursday described as “outrageous” the transfer of huge numbers of staff of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) en bloc across the regions.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) caucus said the move was to frustrate the staff and replace them with allies of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“We are not happy about these transfers because recent events have given us cause to believe that these transfers are designed to remove affected staff from their offices and quickly replace them with friends, family and political apparatchiks of the new management,” the Minority said at a press conference at the Parliament House in Accra.

The mass movement, according to the Minority, was part of an unfortunate sequence of events and actions by the management of the Agency, headed by Mr Justin Kodua Frimpong.

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The press conference was addressed by Mr Kobena Mensah Woyome, Ranking Member on Youth, Sports and Culture, Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi, Dr Kwabena Donkor, MP for Pru East, Alhaji A.B.A. Fuseini, MP for Sagnarigu and Mr Samuel Abdulai Jabanyite, MP for Chereponi.

Mr Woyome said: “Pregnant staff, nursing mothers, mothers with children, persons with disability and lower level staff have all been moved heartlessly from their offices and sent to regions other than their current location.”

He said the YEA was established under the Public Services Commission 1994 and the YEA Act 887 (2015) as part of a Public Service Institution and “not a unit of any political party in power.”

He said the Agency had undergone transformation which involved investments to restore sanity and stability.

The Minority Caucus alleged that the 10 regional directors that were asked to proceed on leave and fresh appointments made amounts to political witch-hunting.

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“It is interesting to note that these appointments were done without any recourse to the Public Services Commission Laws and policies governing recruitment in the Public Service neither was the Scheme of Service of the Agency followed in placing them,” Mr Woyome said.

It challenged the YEA management to publish the full details of the internal audit that allegedly uncovered the payroll fraud of about GH¢51 million adding that the computerised system could not be manipulated.

An internal audit conducted by the YEA has uncovered a huge payroll fraud which has cost the country about GH¢51 million under the John Mahama Administration.

The amount, according to the findings of the report, is an aggregation of unearned allowances paid to un-posted beneficiaries, funds for official use which were paid into personal accounts, as well as procurement without adherence to due process.

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The Acting Chief Executive of YEA, Justine Kodua Frimpong, said that some 2,716 beneficiaries did not have appointment letters, while 9,442 beneficiaries were above the age required.

Another group of 4,681 beneficiaries also vacated their post while 14,443 beneficiaries were simply non-existent. Some 11,512 beneficiaries were also without the assumption of duty letters.

However, Mr Woyome said there was no way two or more beneficiaries could use or be paid through the same e-zwich accounts and called for query into that claim with the help of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems Limited (GhIPSS).

“The beneficiary management system used in the payment of beneficiaries makes it impossible to pay beneficiaries who do not have appointment letters,” he said.

GNA