Dr. Twum Nuamah, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP who has been named in the payroll fraud brouhaha, has denied any deliberate intention on the part of his wife and himself to defraud the state after the couple was paid more than Ghc67,000 in unearned salaries for more than 7 months in 2013.
Speaking to The Republic in an interview to clear his name, Dr. Twum Nuamah claimed that even though he had been paid those amounts, he has since paid them back to the Government, denying criticisms that they are “crooks”.
Indeed, this paper is in possession of the payment order made for the return of those unearned monies: Dr. Nuamah made the repayments in three tranches, the first of Ghc2,800 being paid through the GCB bank on July 25, 2014.
He subsequently paid the remaining amount of Ghc20,000 and Ghc8, 170 in September and December 2014 respectively.
It is unclear why he had to pay the money in tranches, a situation that has earned him further criticisms that he may have tampered with the funds he knew did not belong to him.
Dr. Emmanuel Agyei-Darko, Medical Superintendent of Bechem Gov’t Hospital of the Ghana Health Service, where Dr. Nuamah worked before leaving for active politics wrote to the District Auditor of Tano South confirming the return of the funds wrongfully paid.
In the letter dated September 2014, the Medical Superintendent wrote: “I wished to inform you that the Sum of Twenty thousand Ghana Cedis (Ghc20,00.00) and Eight Thousand One Hundred and Seventy Ghana Cedis (Ghc8,70.00) has been paid by the above towards his unearned salary recovery. This brings to a total of Thirty Thousand Nine Hundred and Seventy Ghana Cedis (Ghc30,970.00) so far paid.”
According to Dr. Nuamah, who is an NPP Member of Parliament for Berekum East, the Audit report capturing his wrongful payment was erroneously presented because the controversial payments were done due to some “mix-up” deliberately schemed by some people in the Health Services at the time he was an active public servant.
According to him, the Service later acknowledged their mistake in continuing to pay his salary even though he had left the service. He told this paper that he and his wife-who was facing a similar fate-, agreed with their former employers to return the funds lodged into his account in Berekum.
However, when the Auditor General came to audit the books, the service failed to notify the auditors about the anomaly so it would not be captured in the audit report. “ It was now the duty of the hospital management to explain to the auditor…they had to give that information to them [the auditor]. That information was not captured before a report was made available to the auditor,” he told the Republic newspaper.
The audit report capturing the payment of the unearned salaries, stated: “ We noted that two (2) formal staff members namely Dr. Twum Nuamah (Former Medical Superintendent) and Mrs. Amankwaa Nana Akua (a nurse) who left the institution since January 2013 and May 2013 respectively still have their names appearing on the hospital’s mechanized payment vouchers. As a result a total amount of Ghc67,012.88 was paid into their personal bank accounts at the Ghana Commercial Bank and Agricultural Development Bank at Techiman and Berekum respectively,” excerpts of the intercepted audit report stated.
Dr. Nuamah, who spoke on behalf of the couple said their issue is a mere administrative lapse which was not their fault. He also did not rule out the fact that in his case, somebody at his former work place may have been out to ‘do him in’.
According to him, at the time his wife Mrs. Amankwaa Nana Akua (a nurse) was being paid the unearned salaries, she had taken a statutory leave and had been transferred to the Greater Accra Regional Health Services at the period she was alleged to have received the payment and that the mistake was due to the inability of the Bechem hospital in Brong Ahafo Region to transfer his name onto the payroll of the Greater Accra health service where she had been transferred to; stating that his wife is still a staff of the service.
Notwithstanding this, there is no record to show that she handed over to her successor as is the standard practice in all government departments or serious business when a person resigns or transfers to another department.
Recently, an audit report gleaned by this paper showed that Dr Twum Nuamah and his wife Mrs. Amankwaa Nana Akua, who were both appointed Medical officers in the public service in the previous administration drew thousands of Ghana cedis as salaries for periods ranging between 10 and 7 months after they had left public sector.
The couple cashed a whopping total of Ghc67,012.88 in unearned salaries from their respective banks-Ghana Commercial Bank and Agricultural Development Bank at Techiman and Berekum.
This revelation came at a time Policy think-tank, IMANI Ghana and the protest group-Occupy Ghana being allegedly sponsored by the NPP were gleefully threatening to pin the immense payroll fraud on the current administration of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
The two organizations-known for having strong ties with the opposition NPP - have given the CAGD an ultimatum on what they believe as an active payroll being perpetrated by some powerful individuals with influence on the payroll system.
The IMANI boss, Franklin Cudjoe has threatened to expose the Controller and Accountant General’s Department over what he describes as an incriminating document he has intercepted about the country’s payroll system, saying the intercepted documents showed that the country lost huge sums of money through the system in a manner, which was “orchestrated and well planned.