Former SSNIT Bosses Travelled First Class – Director-General
The Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Dr John Ofori-Tenkorang has disclosed that his predecessors, including Ernest Thompson, travelled on first-class tickets on foreign trips.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang said he cancelled such benefits and opted for business class when he assumed office.
He said the changes were part of measures he put in place to drastically reduce expenses incurred by the insurance company on its executives.
“We started cutting cost, putting certain procurement items on hold. The first time I went there, and I was being told my benefits, as part of my conditions of service I was told that the Director-General flies first class for all his business travels. But I declined. I said I would fly business [class] because, from a first-class ticket, that is probably twice the price of a first class visit,” he said.
Dr Ofori-Tenkorang made the revelation on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday.
“That is a signal to say that cost cutting is here so we should all tighten our belts,” he noted.
The SSNIT Director-General said when he assumed office, he also realized that there were a lot of overseas travels for the staff of the company “attending conferences, training sessions and others” and depending on your position within the organisation, “you will fly business class or economy.”
“We revised our travel policies,” he said.
He also noted that about GHc7.9 million was budgeted for travel trips in 2017 for their staff but due to some prudent measures they only expended GHc1.9.
“As part of the measures that we put in place regarding regulating travels, there had been an amount of GHc7.3 million budgeted for travel and accommodation. We went through the whole year and spent the only GHc1.9million,” Dr Ofori-Tenkorang added.
Fly economy for trips below 5 hours
He said “Then we made a policy that for travel less than five hours, all of us including myself, we all fly economy.
Because that is what I’m used to when I worked abroad.”
“Then I found out that there was this thing called travel days per diem allowance. What that was, was that by just getting into the plan from Accra to London, you get paid as if you stayed away for a day or even for two days in the case of DG and executives. You are paid just for being on the plane. So all the executives got around the table and agreed that you should be paid for the night that you are spending abroad when you are paying for hotels and meals. So we cut that,” he said.
Former SSNIT boss, others indicted
Four persons, including the former Director-General of the SSNIT, Ernest Thompson, have been charged for allegedly causing financial loss to the state following the Economic and Organised Crimes Office’s (EOCO) investigations into the $72 million SSNIT software scandal.
SSNIT under Mr Thompson allegedly embarked on a digitization drive the company which made the company lose about $72 million.
Mr Thompson and four other persons had initially been arrested by EOCO after an audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers Ghana indicted them.
The five are; the former Head of IT Department, Caleb Kwaku Afaglo; former OBS project manager; John Hagan Mensah, one Thomas Samson Owusu and Juliet Hasana Kramah, the CEO of IT company, Perfect Business Systems.