Finally! The much expected has arrived. Former chair of the Electoral Commission Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan has finally been paid his long overdue pension benefits, delayed for a period 13 months.
After 23 years of selfless and dedicated service to Ghana which saw him supervise six elections, former chair of the Electoral Commission Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan was left 13 months without a penny when he left office. Gyan’s plight had been agitated against among concerned citizens, who were disturbed about him being deprived of his entitlements.
The Controller and Accountant General’s Department who ceased paying the monthly salary of the former EC chair in June 2015, had blamed it on the bureaucratic processes which had to be followed.
Dr Gyan retired from the Electoral Commission on June 16, 2015. He had served 23 years as deputy Electoral Commissioner and later as Commissioner. According to Article 44 (2), Dr Afari Gyan was entitled to the same conditions of service as the justice of a Court of Appeal, which also included a handsome pay packet shortly after retirement.
However, none of those entitlements were paid him for 13 months, despite several attempts by relatives as well as officials of the EC.
But the storm is over for the EC former chair who reportedly resorted to farming, as the lack of payment took a heavy toll on his finances. The EC Chair has been paid the lump sum owed him with a promise to begin paying arrears of his pension in August 2016.
The officials of the controller and accountant general’s department who have admitted there were delays in paying Dr Gyans entitlements, said the delay was because they had to diligently follow due process. They also said it was due to the delays at the Finance Ministry from where approval had to come before the money would be paid.
Controller and Accountant General, Mr Seidu Kotomah and two other officials, shed more light on the event in a recent interview with Joynews( who commenced investigations into the matter this month). They also attributed the delay to a modified rule in 2015, which required that all gratuities exceeding a certain threshold had to be taken to the Finance Ministry for certification and payment.
They explained that it would have taken 90 days for due diligence to be done and monies paid if the gratuity was below the threshold. But for the fact that Dr Afari’s entitlements exceeded the threshold, his document had to be taken to the Finance Ministry. They explained that this took more 270 days from the day his file was received from the Electoral Commission.