GNAT apprehensive of Barclays unauthorised deductions

The Asante Mampong branch of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), has expressed worry over unauthorised deductions Barclays Bank was making on the salaries of its members. The Association has subsequently called on the authorities of the bank to stop the �illegal and wrongful� deductions with immediate effect. Reverend Patrick Tuffour, Secretary of the Mampong Chapter of GNAT in an interview with the Ghana News Agency over the weekend, said nine teachers have officially lodged complaints at his outfit adding, �I believe there are many more.� He said the complaints had come from Mampong Municipal and Sekyere Central in the Ashanti Region. He explained that the bank had unilaterally credited the accounts of the affected teachers with monies ranging from seven thousand to fifteen thousand Ghana Cedis, without their consent. The teachers had declined the offer, and the bank had equally withdrawn the amount from their accounts, but the bank continued to make monthly deductions from their (teachers) salaries at source (controller and accountant general department), he added. He also said the affected teachers were neither saving with the bank, nor contracted any loan from its (bank), however, between three hundred and five hundred Ghana Cedis was being deducted from their take-home salaries every month. Rev Tuffour said members of the Association have suffered the illegal and wrongful deductions for close to one year, which has ignited unnecessary financial burden and inconvenience. A 59-year-old teacher, Mr Kwasi Akuako, told the Ghana News Agency that though he had not applied for a loan, nor has the bank credited his accounts with any amount, but GH 376.02 was consistently being deducted by Barclays since May this year. Mr Akuoko said an attempt to seek refund through the Sekyere Central District Education Directorate and the local chapter of GNAT compelled the bank to refund three months without interest; leaving about four months in arrears. He said the circumstances had apparently contributed to his inability to send his 20-year-old son to a boarding school this year, and was also exerting extra burden of incurring transport cost and its associated risk in commuting to and from Kumasi for the refund. Rev Tuffour expressed regret that at a time teachers were fighting for improved salaries and improved conditions of service, financial institutions were worsening their plight. He called on the management of the bank to take practical steps to rectify the situation, since it was breeding uneasy calm among its members, especially as Christmas festivities had just began.