Corruption in GRNMA? Millions Unaccounted for as Leadership Bury Financials
A GRNMA national budget surplus of ₵4 Million for 2016 reflected as ₵1.8 Million opening balance for 2017, a report by the Assistant National Treasurer, Mr. Haruna Tirah, to the 16th Biennial Delegates Conference confirmed. This leaves a whopping ₵2.2 Million unaccounted for, per the 2016 association budget alone.
While this observation is worrying and questions the financial integrity of the GRNMA leadership, attempts to get copies of full financial statements or audited reports from some members of leadership have been unsuccessful. A call to the office of the National Treasurer for the said documents was referred to the chairman of the Central Regional branch, Madam Mercy Charwey, who also referred to the Central Regional secretary.
The Central Regional secretary, Mr Alfred Addy, confirmed he had the financial reports but indicated that he could not release them earlier than a date marked for the 1st Regional Council meeting for 2018 and asked to be met at the meeting. At the said meeting, which was held on February 21, 2018 at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital lecture hall, the secretary again referred the request for the documents to the 2nd Vice Regional Chairman, Mr. Frank Arhin.
Mr. Frank Arhin failed to produce the reports and suggested to meet later to discuss the matter. Shortly after, Madam Mercy Charwey indicated that she did not have the reports and reaffirmed Mr. Arhin’s position to discuss the matter later.
In a phone conversation with Mr. Haruna Tirah on Monday, March 12, 2018, the Assistant National Treasurer declined a request for the union’s financial reports, claiming that he was not required by the constitution to give them out to individual members of the association, and that if the regional officers failed to give them out, he was not inclined to do anything about it either.
In the same financial report to Conference, which is presented in PowerPoint, it is indicated that 3 regional branches of the GRNMA were audited, although they were not named. However, the report noted among other things “poor recording [of] receipts, customer register; unauthorized spending; executives taking food and drinks without paying; revenue generated from conference hall were unaccounted for” as some of the findings.
Surprisingly, ₵80,250.96 was reportedly spent on a memorial lecture alone for Dr. D. Kissieh in 2017. This was beside several other questionable expenditure figures outlined in the report.
Within this context of woefully poor accountability, leadership have maintained that they need more money to run the association, for which reason nurses’ levies have been raised since February, 2018. While it is on record that the Central Regional branch moved the motion for the increment, reports on meetings of the Socio-economic and Finance Committees of the association suggest that the move was masterminded by the national leadership.
The Socio-economic Committee report, which was presented to the 2017 Conference indicated that a discussion to raise nurses’ levies was initiated by Mr. Eric Cannor Apperkon, the Assistant National General Secretary. According to the report “He [Eric Cannor Apperkon] started the discussion with explanation on the current tariffs, justifying the need for increment in the various tariffs if need be.” The Finance Committee report likewise suggested that increment was proposed at the committee meeting.
In a bid to probe further into the security of the Nurses Fund, an interaction with Axis Pension confirmed that the “investment of the fund is done by fund managers appointed by the Board of Trustees,” which is currently chaired by the national treasurer. Speaking for Axis Pension, Nana Yaw Gyamfi indicated that they were “committed to the effective and efficient administration of the Nurse Fund to help guarantee retirement income security for all nurses.”
Meanwhile, the Treasurers’ report to Conference indicates that the GRNMA invested some ₵1.8 Million with “ASN” in 2016, details of which nurses would want to know.
In the light of the current financial behaviour of the union leadership, therefore, it becomes a mockery to the intelligence of the common Ghanaian nurse to accept to pay more for levies when there is no proper accounting to show for previous use of their contributions, and where leadership cannot be held accountable for their indiscretions or misappropriations.
Certainly, these observations beg many questions: Are the leadership of GRNMA stealing from nurses? Are they being compelled to raise levies to free themselves from misappropriating nurses’ money, or from unauthorized loans taken on nurses’ contributions? Why are they disregarding the concerns of the masses to raise nurses’ levies? Are there full income-expenditure statements and audited reports on the financials of the association over the period at all? Until there is full disclosure on these, the safety of nurses in Ghana under the GRNMA cannot be guaranteed.
Finally, there is a dire need to revise the constitution of the GRNMA to put in financial provisions that protect the contributions of the Ghanaian nurse.