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Opinions Thu, 30 Oct 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), which is administered by First Banc, result from the 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 funds lodged 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, which is held in the Bank of Ghana - or risk facing an existential meltdown-crisis from which his presidency may never be able to recover.


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 financial services sector entities over the same period earned - but did not do so.


Apparently, the reason why they failed discharge their fiduciary duty, was because they creamed off the bulk of the interest paid. Monstrous, and unpardonable, if that indeed was the case.

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) has contributed 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 this particular 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 TPFA funds. That is the only way his administration can regain the trust of ordinary Ghanaians in this matter. A word to the wise...

Columnist: Thompson, Kofi