The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has debunked reports that the Ashanti Regional Manager of the scheme, Mr. Afrifa Yamoah Ponko, has been fired via a proceed on leave directive. Rumours have gained grounds that government has asked the controversial Ashanti Regional Manager of the NHIS to proceed on leave. His leave is alleged to be in relation to the many controversies and scandals surrounding him and his postion. The Deputy Director, Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Eric Ametor-Quarmyne, in an interview with Nana Yaw Kesse, sitting in for Kwami Sefa Kayi on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo morning show, says there is no truth in the rumour that Mr. Yamoah Ponko has been dismissed. According to him, he has proceeded on the normal working leave that every worker is entitled to. “It is not true that Mr. Yamoah Ponko has been sacked or dismissed from his job but he has gone on leave. Since he started work in 2009 till now, he has not gone on leave and it is in the labour law that if you don’t proceed on leave for two years, you forfeit it and you are not paid too, so most of the people in the NHIA who did not go on leave last year, are going on leave this year,” he explained. He described as rather unfortunate the misconstruing of a normal working leave as dismissal by some sections of the public. “Leave is a statutory requirement for every worker; you go on leave for a period of 28 days or you can choose to divide it piecemeal. Mr. Ponko has not gone on leave for almost two years now. I’m sure it is an accumulated leave but I don’t think it is related to any allegations and suspicions,” he noted. He added that the Regional Accountant will be acting in the absence of Mr. Yamoah Ponko as Head. “In the absence of Mr. Ponko, the regional accountant is acting till he returns…I have not seen the letter (asking him to take his accumulated leave) so I can’t tell the duration of the leave, but since he has been in office for one and half years, I don’t know if it has been extended beyond one year-leave days, which is 28 days,” he noted. Commenting on the ‘one time NHIS premium’, Mr. Ametor Quarmyne said the premium is a government programme and will definitely come on as soon as government is ready. He assured Ghanaians that the one-time premium in NHIS is not so compound as being espoused. “The one time premium will definitely come on; it is a government of Ghana programme, not a health insurance authority programme. We are ready so whenever government launches the programme, we are ready to work with it,” he said.
Source: Beatrice Adepa Frempong/Peacefmonline.com/Ghana