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16.03.2006 Business & Finance

SSNIT drags 10 companies to court


Takoradi, March 16, GNA - Ten companies operating within Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolis who owe Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) about 7.8 billion cedis in default of workers contributions on Thursday appeared before a Takoradi Circuit court. They were charged with failing to pay workers contributions to the Trust contrary to PNDC Law 247.

The companies were, Goodwill Consult Limited, Architectural Spring company, Western Hardwood Limited, PAS timbers, Rad Forest Products, Intex Company and Hamrosa Limited. Their pleas were not taken and would reappear on Monday, April 3. Proprietors of Takoradi Hotel, Danimens Mechanical Engineering Company and "A2" and Associates 2003 Ghana Limited who were arrested on bench warrant for failing to appear before the court were later released on bail to reappear on Monday, March 20. Out of the amount, Western Veneer and Lumber Company (WVLC) alone owe 6.8 billion cedis.

Mr Christian Victor Wood-Ackom, SSNIT prosecutor told the court presided over by Mr Justice George Koomson that the defaulting companies had wilfully failed to discharge their obligations and disregarded persistent demands to pay contributions deducted from the salaries and wages of their workers to SSNIT. Mr Wood-Ackom later told the Ghana News Agency that 20 more companies in the metropolis who owe SSNIT more than 600 million cedis would be prosecuted.

In a related development, Mr George Blege, Sekondi-Takoradi Branch Manager of SSNIT has reminded private and public organisations operating within the metropolis that SSNIT had flexible terms for the payment of workers contribution and monies owed. He said those facing difficulties should not hesitate to approach SSNIT to negotiate for the terms of payment favourable to both institutions and organisations.

Mr Blege told the Ghana News Agency that in spite of several education programmes by SSNIT to institutions most of them continued to flout the laws on payment of workers contributions. He warned that other offences including concealment of information about the operations of institutions would attract severe penalties. Mr Blege called on workers to muster courage and report their employers of any misconduct to SSNIT for action adding, "The SSNIT war on defaulting companies within the metropolis has just started."