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10.01.2005 General News

Pensioners cry foul over delays in implementing increases in pensions

By GNA

Kumasi, Jan. 10, GNA - The inability of the Comptroller and Accountant General's Department to implement Government's pension increment has created avenues for all forms of malpractices. For instance some members of the Pensioners Association in the Ashanti Region have been acting as front men collecting between 50,000 cedis and 100,000 cedis ostensibly to bribe Officers of the Department to speed up the processing of their pensions.

Department had not made the necessary adjustments in the pensions of a number of pensioners in the Region.

A highly placed Source at the Offices of the Ashanti Region Pensioners Association confirmed the allegation that some of their members paid money to speed up the processing of their pensions.

The Source said the implementation of the increases at the Accountant General's Department had been fraught with delays, anomalies and discrepancies, which were explained away as arising from administrative problems.

The Source said this had led to a situation, where Pensioners, who could no longer bear the inconveniences contributed money to self-styled front men within the Association to "grease the palms of officers working on the adjustments".

"Truly those who are able to pay have all had their increases and arrears paid to them without problems," the Source said.

Mr Zakari Ali, Ashanti Regional Director of the Comptroller and Accountant General's Department, denied knowledge of any collection of money for officers of his Department but confirmed that there had been delays in the implementation of the increases in pensions.

He told the GNA that, even though the Government approved of the increment in pensions in 2002, as a result of some administrative problems, the Department had found it difficult to implement it.

Mr Zakari said since only one section of the Department was working on the salaries of all categories of pensioners including the Armed Forces, the implementation had to be done on a piecemeal basis. He said the use of obsolete machines, which had small capacities, had compounded the problem.

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