Twelve people working for the National Identification Authority (NIA) have been dismissed for violating the directives, rules and regulations of the authority.
Four other officers have been suspended for one month for other minor offences which are contrary to the NIA’s directives, rules and regulations.
The Head of Corporate Affairs of the NIA, Assistant Commissioner of Immigration (ACI) Mr Francis Palmdeti, confirmed the action to the Daily Graphic, saying: “Some of the officers conducted themselves in a manner contrary to the directives, rules and regulations of the NIA, hence their dismissal.”
He explained that the officers were dismissed on the basis of offences including absenteeism and working beyond the given time without authorisation.
He further explained that the dismissed and suspended officers were all contract staff of the NIA, made up of coordinating registration officers, mobile registration workstation operators, card verification and registration officers, hired purposely for the Ghana Card registration exercise.
The mass national identification card registration exercise is ongoing at designated centres in the Greater Accra Region.
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The exercise has faced some challenges, including delays, network problems, extortion, registration of foreigners, the registration of persons outside the designated centres and outside the stipulated time, among others.
A data officer of the NIA was arrested last week by the Kaneshie Police for allegedly registering two Nigeriens in the ongoing registration exercise at Abossey Okai in Accra.
The suspect was reported to have been given GH¢60 by a former employee of the NIA to assist the two applicants to obtain the national identification card.
Also, some officers of the NIA were busted for allegedly registering people for the Ghana Card at a private residence near the St Theresa’s Catholic Church at Awudome in Accra at night last week.
“Work within the rules”
According to Mr Palmdeti, officers of the NIA were supposed to work within a certain period of time, and when the time was up they should not indulge in any work, except upon authorisation from the appropriate superior officer.
Nonetheless, he said, some of the officials worked beyond the given working hours, while others absented themselves from work a couple of days without any notice to management.
“Violations against the rules and regulations governing staff for the national identification card registration would not be tolerated at all,” he cautioned.
Mr Palmdeti, however, emphasised that a case of extortion with the police and another case regarding working at a private home at Awudome in the night were different from the cases which had led to the dismissal of some of the staff.
Those who were arrested by the police, he said, were still under investigations and management would take the appropriate measures after the investigations.
He urged officers of the NIA to strictly adhere to the instructions and all other rules given to them to avoid some of those issues, saying: “Any deviation from what has been directed will not be tolerated.”
“Cooperate with us”
Mr Palmdeti also urged the public to be patient with the officers and not mount pressure on them, as that could lead to mistakes on the card.
“We urge the public to cooperate with our officers to ensure the process is smooth and successful,” he said.
Relocation of centres
In a related development, the NIA has relocated some registration centres within the Accra West area to new centres within one-kilometre radius.
According to the NIA, the relocation was to enable it to register eligible applicants residing far away from the current registration centres.
The municipalities to be affected are Ablekuma Central — four centres; Okaikwei South — 11 centres; Okaikwei North — 22 centres; Ashiedu Keteke — four centres; Ablekuma West — two centres, and Ga North — 12 centres.
The rest are Okaikwei Central — seven centres; Ga South (Bortianor) — five centres; Ga Central — nine centres; Ablekuma South — eight centres; Ablekuma North — eight centres; Ga West — 13 centres, and Ga South (Obom) – seven centres.
In a statement, the authority said the new centres commenced registration yesterday and would end on Saturday, May 25, 2019, the same day as all other registration centres in the Accra West area.
The new 115 registration centres would be set up in locations within a one-kilometre radius of the relocated centres, it explained.
“Applicants who are yet to receive their Ghana Cards and reside in communities where registration centres have been relocated will receive text messages and/or phone calls directing them to designated centres within their respective communities to collect their cards,” it said.
The region has been divided into two zones, Accra West and Accra East, where registration centres have been opened at specific locations.