Minister’s coy in ‘by-force’ insurance for NSS personnel

Telltale signs that betray the compulsory insurance for personnel of the National Service Scheme as a setup by the NPP government to reward regime cronies have been animated further.

Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, has his hands in the pie, with his company, Enterprise Group, caught in the thick of the money creaming scheme, along with another suspected regime crony – owner of the GLICO Group.

The Republic has taken delivery of a document that was furnished to it in response to an earlier story that had highlighted Dr. Kwame Acheampong-Kyei, Executive Chairman of GLICO Insurance, one of the companies contracted to run the NSS insurance scheme, as an alleged contributor to the campaign of President Akufo-Addo.

In that document, it is claimed that GLICO Life is indeed a company that has been contracted to run the insurance scheme, but that GLICO is only one of six insurance companies that have been contracted.

The other companies are Vanguard Life, Star Life, GN Life, Quality Life and Enterprise Life Insurance.

Enterprise Life is a subsidiary of the Enterprise Group, which is co-owned by Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta and his longstanding business partner, Keli Gadzekpo. Mr. Gadzekpo is also a Board Member of the Bank of Ghana.

The situation on the ground therefore is that, the controversial insurance scheme that the NPP government instituted for the NSS personnel without soliciting their approval is being partly managed by a company belonging to the Finance Minister and a Board Member of the BoG.

Mr. Ofori-Atta is already facing conflict of interest probes in respect of the scandalous $2.25billion bond sale to Franklin Templeton.

Enterprise Group, the company which is mother to Enterprise Life, is the same conglomerate which was caught in the thick of the FT dirty deal in which the Finance Minister had unilaterally sold the bond to the US-based juggernaut without recourse to Parliament or Cabinet.

Readers would recall that in the details of the scandal, Trevor G. Trefgarne, who is the chairman of the Enterprise Group, was at that time concurrently an employee of Franklin Templeton, raising serious suspicion that FT had only leveraged Mr. Trefgarne’s position as the business associate of the Finance Minister to buy Africa’s biggest bond.

It is this same Enterprise Group, chaired by Trevor Trefgarne, that has had its subsidiary land a deal to operate an Insurance Scheme for the NSS personnel under very controversial circumstances.

The NSS personnel make the point that they had not been consulted before the insurance scheme, which will deduct Ghc15 every month from the stipends of young people earning only allowances while on National Service duties, for a whole year.

Already, some of the angry personnel have dragged the NSS leadership to court over the issue rubbishing, among others, explanation that the decision to institute an insurance scheme for them had been taken on their behalf by NASPA – National Service Personnel Association.

Edudzi Tamakloe, one of the lawyers representing a faction of the NSS personnel, has made it clear that the NASPA is an association and therefore does not have the locus to institute an insurance scheme for the personnel without their consent.

The NSS itself operates on the authority of a Legal Instrument, which means Parliament ought to have given approval before an insurance scheme could be instituted.

Also, it has been pointed out that the insurance scheme itself gives a sweeping coverage that does not take into consideration the peculiar needs of individual personnel, who work under different conditions during service days. For instance, it is pointed out that the risk profile of a service person who works in an industrial setting cannot be the same as that of another who works in an office setting.

But the most compelling of all the arguments is that the generality of the personnel say they do not want the insurance scheme. While some have simply rejected it out of hand, others point to the fact that there already exists a welfare scheme with NASPA, to which Ghc1 out of Ghc10 that personnel pay as dues are allocated for welfare purposes.

In spite of all these arguments, the political leadership of the NSS has refused to scrap the insurance using every trick possible to maintain what is seen as an extortionate scheme, which deducts Ghc15 out of their stipends for insurance companies for 12 months with prospects of reciprocal benefits very remote.

Contributors to the scheme only stand to benefit if they die or suffer serious injuries that make them disabled. Death and disability among National Service personnel is next to non-existent, but after 12 months of contribution, the personnel get nothing if they do not die or get maimed.

Amidst the telltale signs that the scheme is just a setup to help selected insurance companies to make easy money off the backs of NSS personnel, the lineup of the six insurance companies involved shows that at least two of them are regime amigos.

Enterprise Life belongs to Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and BoG Board Member, Keli Gadzekpo, while GLICO Life belongs to Dr. Kwame Acheampong-Kyei, a man said to have contributed handsomely to the 2016 campaign of President Akufo-Addo.

Since the coming into office of the NPP, Dr. Acheampong-Kyei, who holds the title ‘Group Founder and Executive Chairman of the GLICO Group,’ has enjoyed pampering from the government. In June this year, he was one of the 116 people who had traveled to China with Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia.

On that trip, Dr. Achampong-Kyei had traveled first class on the Emirate Airlines flight that had jetted them to China, reaching there, upon which most of the members of the entourage had been hosted in the Beijing Hilton Hotel.

He had flown with his seat designated – “F002E Mr. Kwame Achampong Kyei.”

The NPP government had justified the large entourage claiming the people that the Vice President had traveled with were to help attract investment into the country. Several months down the line, the only investment that the GLICO boss has been able to conjure is what is being derogatorily referred to as “galamsey in the poor pockets of NSS personnel.”

 

 

 

 

Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Fiifi Samuels

The Republic News Online

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