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GHC4.6m Missing At Fire Service   
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Tongues are wagging at the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) headquarters in Accra over alleged misappropriation of a certain rent allowance that is supposed to be paid to personnel.

According to Business Day’s sources, the officers are entitled to 20 per cent of their salaries as ‘Rent Allowance’ and duly received their allowances for the month of January.

Since then they have been expecting to receive allowances for February and the succeeding months but not a pesewa has been credited to their accounts.

Subsequent events have left despair on officers’ faces as tales emerge, suggesting that the money has been paid to the GNFS but cannot allegedly be accounted for. Not even a letter from the Ministry of Interior supposedly demanding the whereabouts of the cash has laid the matter to rest.

Our sources say GHC4, 622,517.42 has allegedly gone missing from the accounts of the GNFS.

It is the position of some personnel that the fund has been allegedly diverted into Treasury Bill accounts to yield interest for some top brass of the GNFS.

No trace

Briefs from deep-throat sources say that the disbursement of the monthly rent allowance was to cushion personnel who are not living in National Fire Service properties to rent private facilities.

According to sources within the service, the decision to allocate funds for the payment of rent allowance was a struggle between the immediate-past National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and the head office management of the service.

Business Day investigations have revealed that the government at the time thus, in the short term financial arrangement for the first quarter of 2017, made available 20 per cent rent allowance payable to personnel of the service upon request.

Consequently, personnel were paid their allowances in January but after allowances for February and the subsequent months were not forthcoming, the rumour mill was ignited. The GNFS then took the opportunity to write to the sector Ministry (Interior), seeking the whereabouts of the rent allowance.

As a result, the Ministry wrote a letter (intercepted by Business Day) July 7, 2017 demanding the whereabouts of the money. The letter was signed by Mrs. Adelaide Anno-Kumi, the Chief Director of the Ministry and addressed to the Ministry of Finance and copied to the Chief Fire Officer.

It is alleged that no response has been given to the letter, which was referenced as SCR/TB69/77/025 and headlined “Request for Funds for the Payment of 20 per cent Rent Allowance for February and March 2017.”

The content of the letter read: “Please I wish to forward to you letter no. NFS/ADM/FA/017 VOL. /V123 dated June 28, 2017 and attached list of personnel received from Ghana National Fire Service on the above subject matter for your consideration and necessary action.

“The Ghana National Fire Service is requesting for the release of four million, Six hundred and seventeen Ghana Cedis, forty –two Pesewas for the payment of twenty per cent rent allowance to its personnel for the months of February and March.”

11 million in

When Business Day contacted the Public Relations Unit of the GNFS, officials admitted that the rent allowance has not been paid since February.

Interactions with Mr. Billy Anaglatey, head of the PR Unit and Mr. Brako-Appiah, Director of Budget resulted in revelations that the Ministry of Finance has, through a letter signed by Deputy Finance Minister Charles Boahen, indicated that funds have been released.

Even though the letter was dated August 15, Mr. Brako-Appiah told Business Day that the GNFS received the letter on August 22 – eight clear days after.

Mr. Brako-Appiah said the funds comprise over four million Ghana Cedis for the February and March allowances as well as more than six million Ghana Cedis for the month of April and June. These amounts total over eleven million Ghana Cedis for disbursement.

Therefore, he argued that the money has not been missing and it was his outfit that wrote to the Ministry of Interior seeking the whereabouts of the funds.

So, the letter from the Interior Ministry was further enquiries to the Ministry of Finance seeking clearance on the matter.

In the meantime, Mr. Anaglatey indicates that the service has commissioned a meeting of regional commanders, directors and deputy directors to brief them on the current status of the fund as well as the letter giving clearance for disbursement.
Source: Businessday.com

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