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Crisis Rocks National Service

Vincent Kuagbenu

Vincent Kuagbenu

THE ENTIRE accounting staff of the National Service Secretariat (NSS) has resigned in an unprecedented development, following what insiders describe as an unbearable reign of terror being visited on the department by the new Executive Director, Vincent Senam Kuagbenu.

In a jointly authored correspondence to Mr. Kuagbenu dated 14th October 2009, the Chief Accountant, William Zoogah; Accountant, Lawrence A. Ahenkorah; Accounts Officers Osei Kwadwo James, Aisha Yiwere,  and Marian Marfo announced their resignation from their various positions in the NSS.

“We write to resign from our various positions as staff of the Accounts Department of the National Service Scheme with effect from today, Wednesday 14th October, 2009 as a result of gross disrespect, intimidation, unwarranted and authoritative orders from the Executive Director in the process and payment of various allowances to him and other officers”,

They stated in the letter which was copied the Minister of Education, Minister of Finance, NSS board members, Public Service Commission, Controller And Accountant General, Auditor General, Deputy Executive Director (F&A) Dep. Executive Director (Operations) and other relevant personalities.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that the problem stemmed from Executive Director’s unbridled desire to hire consultants in what is known in political circles as ‘job for the boys’, including the engagement of former Joy FM reporter Stan Dogbe, who was introduced to the staff as an IT Consultant.

According to aggrieved workers, Stan Dogbe, who styles himself as consultant to the office of the Vice President, is a known journalist and not an IT specialist, and spending the service’s scarce resources on him was misplaced priority, especially when there are competent people at the Secretariat.

The brief tenure of President John Evans Atta Mills’ appointed Executive Director has been marked with what an anonymous insider likened to a head-teacher/pupil relationship. On Tuesday 13th October 2009, the Executive Director descended on the reception staff for allowing some visitors to go beyond an “out-of-bounds” point.

His immediate “go and work on the NSS’ piggery” order did not surprise many in the establishment, that being his style of administration. He did not stop there but asked that the erring staff stay out of the office as he had requested National Security staff to replace them.

If the foregone are amazing, then his encounter with an accountant over an accountable imprest is both stunning and mind-boggling. Being entitled to GH¢500 accountable imprest for his trips, the Executive Director was said to have demanded some money from the accounts department last Tuesday.

The accountant asked for the retirement of a previous request of the same nature and referred him to the financial regulations procedure. An incensed Vincent Kuagbenu insisted that he be given the money, the regulations governing such transactions notwithstanding.

Not satisfied with the officer’s conduct, the Executive Director asked where he had come from and when the former mentioned the Controller General’s office, he said, “You are sacked!” A group of concerned staff of the Secretariat had earlier alerted President John Evans Atta Mills and other stakeholders to what it considers as mounting tension in the establishment over the Executive Director’s authoritarian administration.

If the situation is not stemmed before the service year begins sometime this month, it could lead to, in its own words, “Massive conflagration”. Dubbing its concerns a distress call, the group expressed dismay about the manner with which Mr. Kuagbenu is running the place.

Staff members, he said, have been under siege since the assumption of office of Vincent Kuagbenu, explaining that he has constantly organized a series of meetings during which “he spews fire and issues threats to members of staff at the expense of efficient use of working hours”.

The Executive Director, it is alleged, sometimes just walks out on staff during meetings, never to return. “He does not miss the opportunity to tell members of staff how powerful he is within the corridors of power”.

The Executive Director allegedly yells and screams at staff members anywhere in the office, without provocation, pointing out that “visitors and customers who patronize the scheme’s canteen are not left out of this uncouth and embarrassing behaviour by the Ag. Executive Director”.

The man, the group pointed out, on one occasion ordered a front desk officer at the headquarters to go and water the car park for allowing a visitor into the compound, even after the man had followed laid-down procedures issued by him (Executive Director). “This was in full glare of members of staff and visitors”, it stated.

Communication with the rest of the country is not possible because the lines have been disconnected on the express orders of the man, according to the group, with the exception of the one located in his office.

“All heads of department have been ordered to park their official vehicles after close of work, as only the Executive Director and his two deputies can use their official vehicles”, the group maintains.

The group added that he has allocated a Landcruiser V8 with registration no. GN 1425 Z to himself, a VW Passat (GT 5352 Y) to his wife, a Toyota Hilux pickup (GT 5516 Y) to take his kids to and from school, and another Toyota Hilux (GT 5562 Y) for miscellaneous missions.

The recent engagement of some IT consultants, according to the group, was without accompanying documentation, and one of them, it adds, was sheltered in a hotel with nothing to show for the expenses.

“We are calling for a thorough investigation into this profligate expenditure at a time when His Excellency is desirous of reducing public sector expenditure to better the lot of our people”, it stated.

There is an ongoing transfer of persons not in the good books of the director, the group alleges, explaining that eight senior staff members have received such letters. In order to cow his subordinates into submission, the director is into incessant dropping of names of top persons in the government such as the President, National Security Coordinator, among others.

Considering the aforementioned allegations, the group demanded that the director be reassigned, called to order, made to proceed on a training programme at GIMPA or dismissed. They also called the attention of the President to the engagement of Stan Dogbey as an IT consultant when, according to them, the man is a well-known journalist.

Source: dailyguideghana

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