Parliament has ordered Prof. Kenneth Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA), to reimburse an amount exceeding GH₵98,000. The sum was deducted from the Authority’s funds to cover penalties incurred due to delayed transfers of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions.
The directive came during a session of the Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday, February 7, where Prof. Attafuah was grilled over the handling of the NIA’s finances. Aligning with the Auditor General’s recommendation, the committee affirmed that both Prof. Attafuah and the financial controller should be held accountable for the penalty’s cost.
“The recommendation is that you should refund the money from the Chief Executive and Financial Controller. The committee will not accept your explanation,” stated a member of the committee.
Prof. Attafuah, in his defense, cited a lack of funds as the primary reason behind the delayed payment of SSNIT contributions. He emphasized that the NIA had to prioritize the payment of salaries over SSNIT contributions due to limited resources.
“The payments of the penalty arose from delaying the release of funds, resulting in the Authority’s inability to promptly pay SSNIT contributions on behalf of temporary staff,” explained Prof. Attafuah.
He further elaborated, “There were insufficient funds to fully cater for their salaries and SSNIT contributions. We prioritized their payments as soon as we received funds the following month.”
However, despite his explanation, the committee remained steadfast in its decision, giving Prof. Attafuah and the financial controller a one-month deadline to refund the deducted amount.