Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee has directed Prof. Kenneth Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), to refund over GHc98,000 deducted from the Authority’s Account as penalty for the delayed transfer of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions.
The directive was given by PAC following the failure of the NIA to remit SSNIT contributions as required by law.
The Public Accounts Committee has further affirmed that Prof. Ken Attafuah and the financial controller should be surcharged with the penalty’s cost.
This came up when the NIA boss appeared before PAC today, Wednesday, February 7, 2024.
He was given a one-month deadline to reimburse the amount.
“The recommendation is that you should refund the money, the money should be refunded from the Chief Executive and Financial Controller. You have come to explain why you did not pay the money you withheld to SSNIT but the committee will not accept your explanation.
“So the recommendation of the Auditor General still holds, the Chief Executive and the Financial Controller should go and refund the money to the recovery account of the auditor general and this should be done in one month.”
Responding to questions, Prof. Kenneth Attafuah attributed the delay in payment of SSNIT contributions to a lack of funds.
“Mr Chairman, the payments of the penalty arose from delaying the release of funds and this has resulted in the Authority’s inability to promptly pay SSNIT contributions on behalf of the temporary staff whose deductions have been made. The Authority was owing the salaries of temporary staff from January to March 2022. The first quarter funds were only released on April 19, 2022. And the settlement of the salary was promptly made, I mean it was prioritised, because the staff were already agitating on the field, not having been paid for three months.”
“Therefore, we prioritised the payments of their wages. There were insufficient funds to fully cater for their salaries for the expenditure of the stated salaries as well as the SSNIT contributions. We prioritised their payments as soon as we received funds, which was the following month, May. We paid off our obligations to SSNIT.”