The National Executive Council of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association, Ghana (CLOGSAG) is asking the Ministry of Finance to return some GH¢58million with interest of civil servants’ pensions that ended up in the Public Sector Workers Employees’ Pension Scheme (PSWEPS).
According to Isaac Bampoe, Executive Secretary of CLOGSAG, a GLICO report commissioned by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) into the disbursement of Tier 2 pension funds lodged at the Bank of Ghana established that some GH¢53million supposed to be sent to the Hedge Pensions Master Trust Occupational Pension Scheme – managers of CLOGSAG Tier 2 funds – ended up with PSWEPS.
PSWEPS was set up by the Ministry of Finance as a temporary scheme to cater for public and civil servants who did not identify with any public sector scheme, but the association is accusing the state scheme of unlawfully diverting civil servants’ Tier 2 pension funds.
“Also, under spurious and unknown circumstances, GH¢5million contributions of CLOGSAG members under the Hedge Pensions Master Trust Occupational Pension Scheme were diverted into the account of PSWEPS,” he said.
CLOGSAG also noted that its members at the Land Commission have complained about unauthorised pension deductions into the account of PSWEPS. The local union has alerted its management over the matter, but to no avail.
“Efforts to retrieve this transfer have not yielded the desired results. We have written to the Finance Ministry for clarification and a correction of this abnormality, but our letters have not even been acknowledged. We feel we are being taken for granted and we need to send a strong message,” Mr. Bampoe Addo said.
He said CLOGSAG has thus demanded that if the monies are not returned with the due interest by June 18, 2021, they will embark on industrial action – adding that the union is not only expecting a return of the monies with interest but also a detailed report as to how the pension funds found themselves in the accounts of PSWEPS.
“We want to know who prepared the schedule for the deductions, who approved it? We are not only demanding a return of the money with interest, we want to know what really happened. It is a breach of controls that must be rectified so that such a thing does not happen again,” Mr. Bampoe Addo said.
He added that: “With the GLICO report, it has been over a year and we have not even heard anything from government and PSWEPS. We feel we are being taken for granted, but these are pension funds of public servants and we will fight to protect them”. Mr. Bampoe Addo added that the action by CLOGSAG on the matter is to protect pension fund management, as unilateral and unauthorised decisions can cause great harm to retirees.