Wednesday’s decision by President Akufo Addo to finally sack three top executives of the National Youth Authority (NYA) has raised serious questions, as the affected individuals will still enjoy the usual juicy benefits.
The three: Emmanuel Sin-Nyet Asigri, the Chief Executive Officer and his two deputies Richard Ebbah Obeng and Bright Acheampong were all hacked off their positions following the scandalous revelation that the CEO has personally contracted a GHC 4.5 million streetlight repair deal to Prefos Limited to train 500 youth for 30 days. The embattled Asigri is reported to have given the contract to the company believed to be owned by his friend without passing through legal procurement processes.
In the letter sacking the three, the Youth and Sports Minister Isaac Asiamah who was acting on the instructions of President Akufo Addo wrote that they should immediately vacate their positions “ and proceed to collect any terminal benefits or facilities due you under relevant law.”
The benefits due the sacked executives will come despite the Jubilee House concluding that they NYA top brass had indeed illegally breached procurement processes.
A Deputy Director of Communications at the Office of the President, Fati Abubakar, told the media today that a prima facie was established before the decision was taken to terminate the appointments of the NYA officials.
“…With specific reference to this National Youth Authority issue, it was established that there was a procurement breach,” she said.
The explanation has notwithstanding triggered critics to question why President Akufo Addo would dismiss an appointee for an alleged crime and yet gift him end-of-service benefits. “The Sports Minister and the President think Ghanaians are Donkeys?” One critic questioned.
Already, Emmanuel Asigri was reportedly invited to the Jubilee House by the Chief of Staff Madam Frema Opare and was asked to voluntarily resign. It is therefore difficult to reconcile a decision asking the erring NYA capo to resign only to be handed a termination letter with attached perks.
The seeming indecision has fuelled persistent speculations that President Akufo Addo is quick to clandestinely clear his appointees who have been fingered for acts of corruption. The President has earned the tag of a “Clearing House” by critics.
Meanwhile, one of the sacked NYA deputies, Richard Obeng who was responsible for finance, has revealed how he tried to stop Emmanuel Asigri from lavishing the contract funds on Prefos Limited. “I refused to ever any payment intended to that company…I actually stopped the payment voucher covering that transaction and locked it up. As to why and how the cheque was written in spite of the Payment Voucher blockade, I leave it to the team of investigators and possibly prosecutors,” says Obeng who believes he is a victim of collective action.
Unconfirmed reports reveal that the 15-member board of the NYA may not be entirely sacrosanct as they have been fingered pocketing huge public funds ranging between GHC 200,000 and GHC 300,000. The reportedly call this money “Mega Package”.