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Chief Hamilton Biney Nixon writes;
I have sighted a press release signed by ACI Francis Palmeti, Head of Corporate Affairs of the National Identification Authority in defense of the illegal registration that took place in some registration centers in Accra on Sunday, 19th May, 2019.
I consider the press statement as a knee jerk reaction, meant to cover up the illegal actions of some officials of the National Identification Authority. The statement further indicts ACI Francis Palmeti, as it contradicts the National Roll-out plan sanctioned by the Minister In charge of the National Identification Authority, Hon Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, the Chairman of the NIA Governing Board, Mr Abel Edusei and Prof Kenneth Agyemang Attafuah, the Executive Secretary of NIA.
The National roll-up plan as presented by Prof Kenneth Attafuah at a press briefing on 25th April, 2019 at the National Identification Authority (NIA) Head Office in Accra, highlighted the objectives of the NIS project, regulations and detailed activities.
For the avoidance of doubt, page four (4) of the press briefings as published on the official website of the NIA, categorizes the scheduled date for the registration exercise in all the other 15 regions and gives details of the registration exercise ongoing in the Greater Accra Region.
Prof Kenneth Attafuah read as follows, ” The Accra West Operational Zone registration will take place from Monday, 29th April 2019 to Saturday, 25th May 2019. The registration centers will be opened from 8:00am to 5:00pm each day (excluding Sunday and Public Holidays)”.
This statement as part of the National roll-up plan, supersedes any other arrangements done by any other official of the authority.
I am therefore appalled by the face saving attempt by the Head of Corporate Affairs of the NIA, ACI Francis Palmeti.
The registration exercise has already been fraught with several incidents, creating rooms for suspicions.
On May 7th 2019, some officials of the NIA were busted for registering people at a private residence at Awudome near St Theresa Catholic Church in Accra.
On May 8th 2019, the Kaneshie Police arrested a data input officer of the authority for registering two Nigerians at Abossey Okai in Accra.
Then on 15th May 2019, Ghanaweb reported of the dismissal of 12 officials of the authority. The dismissal according to ACI Francis Palmeti, became necessary because “some officers conducted themselves in a manner contrary to the directives, rules and regulations of the NIA”. He further explained that “the officers were dismissed on the basis of offences including absenteeism and working beyond the given time without authorization”
It is therefore surprising that in an attempt to cover up the irregularities, the same ACI Francis Palmeti is trying to suggest that authorization was given to the registration officials to undertake the exercise on Sunday, 19th May 2019.
First, any decision to authorize some officials to register outside the normal working days contradicts the National roll-out plan and directives sanctioned by the Minister, Governing Board and Executive Secretary of the NIA.
Secondly, ACI Francis Palmeti has still not been able to provide any document to prove that authorization was given to those officials on duty yesterday at the various registration centers.
It is therefore fair to conclude, that the Head of Corporate Affairs of the Authority, ACI Francis Palmeti is complicit in the illegal actions that took place as he reiterated after the dismissal of the 12 officers who worked beyond the given time without authorization, all such actions must not go unpunished.
I therefore request the Executive Secretary of the NIA, Prof Kenneth Attafuah to investigate the officers who illegally carried out the registration exercise on Sunday 19th May, 2019, as it contravenes the National roll-out plan which bodly indicates that registration is excluded for Sundays and Holidays.
I also wish to implore the Executive Secretary and the Governing Board to explain to Ghanaians, why the Head of Coorporate Affairs could defend the dismissal of the 12 officers, based on the fact they worked beyond the given time without authorization and still seek to defend the illegal registration on Sundays without providing the supposed authorization he claims the registration officials were given.
The 15th May, 2019 letter confirming the usage of the Church premises as a registration center can not be relied upon as the authorization letter for registration on days outside their normal working days.