Wednesday, 29 October 2014

President Mahama Must Ensure Full Disclosure Of TPFA Funds - And Order EOCO Investigations To Establish Possible Wrongdoing

 The controversy generated by  the inability of government ministers to state the exact amount of workers' pension contributions held in the Temporary  Pension Fund Account (TPFA), for which at a point First Banc served as a scheme administrator, results from the general lack of trust in the present government, amongst many ordinary people in the Ghana of today.

It is quite obvious that the vast majority of ordinary people in Ghana are no longer prepared to tolerate the rampant stealing of public funds by public officials - and there is widespread suspicion that some of the interest paid on funds deposited in the TPFA might have ended up in the pockets of the Mahama administration's powerful  crooks-in-high-places.

For that reason, President Mahama would be wise to demand that the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA), the Bank of Ghana and First Banc, give public-sector employees a full account of the current status of the tier-two pension funds' cash reserves accrued in the TPFA,  lodged at the Bank of Ghana - or risk facing an existential  meltdown-crisis from which his presidency may never be able to recover.

 If it is the case that some of the interest paid on funds held in the TPFA have been siphoned off, then no one  should attempt to justify the outrageous conduct of those who had a fiduciary duty to ensure that all the funds in the TPFA were properly protected - and that TPFA funds invested in treasury bills, fetched exactly the same amount in interest that funds invested in treasury bills by other financial services sector entities over the same period earned - but did not do so.

There is widespread suspicion amongst agitating public-sector workers, that the reason why those who failed to discharge their fiduciary duty did not do so, was because they planned to  cream off the bulk of the interest paid. Monstrous, and unpardonable, if that indeed was the case. Naturally, they must have thought it was business as usual - and that they would get away with it.

President Mahama must act in a manner that will ensure that all the powerful people who attempted to rip off those public-sector employees whose employer (the state) deducted 5% of their monthly salaries regularly towards their pension, are exposed and punished -  if it is established that they attempted the biggest fraud in the annals of Ghana's history, thus far: by making out that the period in contention, and the amount of interest they should account for, were both far less than was actually the case.

It will be a grave error of judgement on the part of President Mahama to allow those responsible for what actually is the most dangerous moment in his presidency, to attempt a cover-up, to hide their egregious crime against pension contributors in Ghana's public sector.

If he allows his regime's  powerful crooks-in-high-places to do so, he will find, to his horror, that the 'TPFA-Pensiongate' will turn out to be for his presidency, what the Watergate scandal was for U.S. President Nixon's presidency: the cause of his downfall. No politician, or regime-crony-tycoon, no matter how powerful, can wriggle out of such a crime against public-sector employees.

If he has not yet cottoned on to that yet, he had better ask for a briefing on the matter from his intelligence people - who can begin gathering the facts for what could end up as a perfect storm that finally torpedoes the presidency of John Mahama,  by grilling First Banc's top brass involved in this shabby affair.

If any wrongdoing is established by his intelligence people, the President must quickly get the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to investigate and prosecute all those who have stolen any of the interest earned on funds held in the TPFA, apparently invested in treasury bills. That is the only way his administration can regain the trust of ordinary Ghanaians in this matter. A word to the wise...

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