Ferdinand | EducationGhana | April 2 | Controversy over the use of Teachers’ Pension Funds to Sponsor 2022 Ghana Teacher Prize and TM1 Laptops
The Innovative Teacher Union has released some allegations against managers of the Second Tier Pension Funds of Ghana Education Service Staff in a statement issued on March 29, 2023.
The Teacher Union alleged that the Teachers’ Pension Funds Sponsoring the 2022 Ghana Teacher Prize were against the purpose of its establishment.
”The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the use of GESOPS funds to sponsor the Ghana Teachers Prize 2022 as a headline sponsor.”
The Union further alleged that the GESOPS fund was used to manufacture 280,000 laptops.
”The use of GESOPS funds in the manufacturing of 280,000 laptops when GESOPS was not a party to the contract between the Ministry of Education and K.A TECHNOLOGIES gave us a cause to worry about the future of teachers as far as our pension is concerned.”
Read the Statement below;
FROM FRYING PAN TO FIRE
From January 2010 to 31 st December 2022 the management of the second-tier pension scheme of GES workers has been done in the dark.
National Pension Regulatory Authority and Bank of Ghana failed to publish the bank statement and investment documents covering the funds in the Temporary Pension Fund Account before they handed it over to the GESOPS Board of Trustees.
The level of opaqueness in the management of pension funds over the years is a reason for every GES worker to be concerned.
The use of GESOPS funds in the manufacturing of 280,000 laptops when GESOPS was not a party to the contract between the Ministry of Education and K.A TECHNOLOGIES gave us a cause to worry about the future of teachers as far as our pension is concerned.
The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the use of GESOPS funds to sponsor the Ghana Teachers Prize 2022 as a headline sponsor.
We filed the Right to Information Request on the GESOPS board of trustees, GES, Ministry of Education, and the Controller and Accountant General Department on 6th January 2023.
Ghana Education Service Occupational Pension Scheme responded to us but the rest have refused to respond.
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The response from the GESOPS Board of Trustees and other issues that relate to our second-tier pension funds are the reasons for this press conference.
GESOPS board of trustees is demanding Five Thousand Eight Hundred and Sixty-Five Ghana Cedis in order to prevent us from getting the information we requested. It is a strategy by the board of trustees to deter teachers from filing RTI requests in the future so that the opaque nature of management of our second-tier pension funds will continue.
The board of trustees paid K.A. TECHNOLOGIES from a different account. The pension law makes it mandatory that the only account that must hold pension funds must be the custodial account (Prudential Bank) and not an unknown account to transact scheme activities. How GESOPS funds ended up in an unknown account is a question for the Board of Trustees to answer.
The 509 cedis that were deducted from teachers’ Professional Development Allowance we suspect were not deposited in the custodial account (Prudential Bank) but in a different account at Cal Bank.
GESOPS funds were used to sponsor Ghana Teachers Prize last year. The responsibilities of the GESOPS board of trustees are stated in section 121 of the National Pension Act, 2008 (Act 766). These responsibilities have absolutely nothing to do with using pension funds to sponsor any activity. The headline sponsorship of the Ghana Teachers Prize amounted to a haircut of pension funds.
The board of trustees denied an agreement with the government to pay 70 percent of the cost of manufacturing 280,000 laptops. This is contrary to what all teachers have been made to believe through press releases by GNAT, NAGRAT, CCT, and the Ministry of Education.
The teachers in primary schools who are more than J.H.S. and S.H.S. teachers deserve to know why their laptops have not been supplied fifteen months after deduction.
It is disrespectful and gross arrogance on the part of GNAT NAGRAT and CCT to give illegal consent for the deduction of 509 Ghana cedis from teachers’ Professional Development Allowance and remain mute when teachers want answers to the reason why the laptops have not been supplied. If the laptops cannot be supplied the 509 Ghana cedis must be refunded now!
The board of trustees of GESOPS on their own decided to sponsor Ghana Teachers Prize without official application from the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Finance. The GESOPS board of trustees has developed amnesia from their responsibilities and is on a frivolous spending spree.
GESOPS has sent text messages asking teachers for their opinion about establishing health facilities for them. We cannot fathom why GESOPS cannot simply act in accordance with the National Pensions Act. The main idea behind the proposed establishment of health facilities for teachers is to use procurement to steal pension funds.
The cardinal errors in the National Pension Act are the unbridled discretions that have tendencies of breeding collusions to dissipate pension funds to the advantage of service providers, NPRA officials, and the various boards of trustee members.
We will petition relevant state institutions to amend the National Pensions Act to cap the discretions to safeguard the interest of workers.
Second-tier pension schemes do not exist to enrich a microscopic few who have gathered around the funds but exist for the interest of workers.
The pension reforms only came to reform the pockets of union leaders who double as the board of trustees’ members as they take fat fees whilst shedding crocodile tears to deceive workers.
It also came to increase the profitability of politically affiliated companies that are removed and replaced when there is a change of government.
The use of pension funds to pre-finance the manufacturing of 280,000 laptops and the headline sponsorship of Ghana’s Teachers Prize was misappropriation of pension funds which section 195 of the National Pension Act,2008 (Act 766) makes it a criminal offense.
The National Pensions Regulatory Authority has failed woefully in regulating GESOPS as the GESOPS board of trustees is brazenly breaking the National Pension Act with impunity.
We call on all public sector workers to follow keenly the activities of their boards of trustees otherwise our collective well-being as workers will be undermined by hypocrites.
If the illegal dealings of the GESOPS board of trustees are not checked, the future of GES workers will be the worse institution for teachers.
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