The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has justified its decision to spend US$504,000 on gold watches to reward retiring staff as part of their conditions of service.
Noting that this policy has been with it since the 70s, the BoG has said it will not devalue the dedication and commitment of loyal employees who have toiled for the company.
The Director of Communications at the BoG, Bernard Otabil, said, “if you served an institution for a certain number of years, that institution offers condition of service that would now allow you to enjoy some benefits of some sort after you have left that particular institution.”
“In this very country that we have, we don’t have to devalue the importance of someone committing to a particular institution for more than 30 years,” Mr. Otabil stated.
He urged critics look on the brighter side of this reveal explaining that “in this particular case is that dedication is actually rewarded. It shows that if you are prepared to be loyal, committed, dedicated and contribute to the growth of a company over that length of time, the likelihood is that you will be reward for the work you gave done form that particular institution.”
Policy will be reviewed if need be
Ghana as been rocked with its fair share of scandals involving financial malfeasance with the Auditor General’s report uncovering damning acts of financial negligence over the years, but the Mr. Otabil assured that this policy has always be transparent.
He said, “It is not case that somebody has sat down and deliberately decided to rip of anyone in this particular transaction… On this particular occasion, there is nothing secret about it. It has been done in the open and I don’t think there is any need for us to look at it any other way.”
With questions of morality and prudence hanging over the move to reward retirees with expensive gold watches, Mr. Otabil indicated that, “if there is the need for it to be reviewed from gold watches to any other item, I am pretty sure that the competent managers of this bank will come up with those reforms.”
News of the gold watch expenditure emerged when some documents sighted in some media reports indicated that on July 22, 2016, the BoG sent a request to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to sole source the procurement of gold watches from a Swiss watch company.
The request letter indicated that the BoG intended to use part of its 2016 budgetary allocation to fund the procurement of 24 units of 18 carat ladies gold watches and 48 units of gents gold watches; all Tissot Gold Watches from a dealer.
The BoG responded to the claims explaining that expenditure formed part of its policy to reward deserving staff who have served a minimum of 30 years and are due for statutory retirement from the Bank.
The bank also explained that the procurement of the watches begun in 2012 when the Bank decided to procure the gold watches once every two years (i.e. 2012/13 etc.) in order to control cost and make savings on foreign exchange.