All the former ministers in the erstwhile John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) government who have been caught in the double salary scandal knew about what they were taking monthly.
They are trying to water down the issue by claiming that it was salary ‘top-up’ but it is emerging that most of them were taking two different pay slips from different state institutions at the same time.
The monthly pay slips were coming from the Parliamentary Service Board (PSB) and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD).
The reported double-salary issue, which the police say amounts to stealing, was widespread and appeared to cut across all categories of appointees who served under the former president.
Pleading For Clemency
In the ensuing heat, some of the affected ex-ministers are said to be begging a prominent traditional ruler in the country to intercede for them after the Special Prosecutor, Martin A.B.K. Amidu, waded into the scandal recently.
Mr Amidu gave his tacit support to the ongoing probe by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.
So far, 12 of the ex-ministers – majority of who are currently serving as Members of Parliament (MPs), have been officially grilled by the CID and DAILY GUIDE is reliably informed that there are more names coming.
The whole scandal was triggered following an audit of the payroll data from the office of the President and Parliament from 2012 through 2016. It showed that certain former ministers and deputy ministers doubling as MPs received double salaries at least once a month or throughout the four-year tenure of the NDC.
In all, over 40 of such appointees are said to be involved, although earlier reports had suggested that 25 were being investigated.
The breakdown indicated that in 2012, four of the ministers who are currently not serving in parliament, took double salaries, but by 2013 the double salaried appointees had increased to 22 while in 2014 about 18 were said to be involved.
For 2015 and 2016, 15 and 12 appointees took double salaries respectively.
From 2012 to 2016 when the NDC was booted out of office, some of the appointees were captured in all the data collated as having received double salaries throughout the period.
DAILY GUIDE has learnt that while some of the former ministers who drew salaries as MP and ministers of state detected the double salary anomaly and notified the authorities for the right thing to be done.
It is not however clear if the payments that had already been credited to the accounts of such people were returned to government chest.
Some NDC elements after cynically claiming that the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is witch-hunting them through the police, are now admitting that the double salary really occurred.
However, they are now pushing the argument that it was a ‘top-up’ for the affected ministers and not the actual monthly salaries as being claimed by their political opponents.
Bernard Allotey Jacobs, NDC Central Regional Chairman, conceded at some point that some of the ex-ministers who were MPs actually received double salaries and said they were ready to use their ex-gratia to offset them (salaries).
So far, Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, MP for Ellembelle and former Minister of Energy and Petroleum; Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo, MP for Kpone Katamanso who was the former Greater Accra Regional Minister as well as former Minister of State in-Charge of Social and Allied Institutions, Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah, who is NDC MP for Ada East have been interrogated by the CID.
Also, a certain Bashir Fuseini Alhassan, who is believed to be ABA Fuseini, NDC MP for Sagnerigu and former Deputy Minister, Northern Region, was also there to write a statement before being admitted to bail as well as Second Deputy Minority Chief Whip Eric Opoku who is NDC MP for Asunafo South and former Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister have also been to the police.
Alhaji Inusah Fuseini, NDC MP for Tamale Central and Minister of Roads and Highways; Fifi Fiavi Kwetey, a former Minister of Transport and NDC MP for Ketu South; Abdul Rashid Hassan Pelpuo, a former minister of state at the presidency and MP for Wa Central; and Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, a former Central Regional Minister and former MP for Mfantseman West have all been interrogated by the police over the scandal.
Three others including Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye former Minister of Youth and Sports who doubles as current opposition NDC MP for Odododiodioo; and Alhassan Azong, former Minister of State in charge of Public Sector Reforms and former People’s National Convention MP for Builsa South Constituency as well as Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine who served as Deputy Attorney General under President John Mahama were also at the CID Headquarters for interrogation.
When the scandal broke, Nii Lante Vanderpuye told Hot FM, Citi FM among others that he had not been invited by the police, claiming that DAILY GUIDE was defaming him.
He threatened to sue the newspaper if an apology was not rendered.