Intercity STC has been dragged to court for failing to pay Social Security and National Insurance (SSNIT)Trust contributions for more than 5,000 workers across the country.
Also named in the suit, filed at the Accra District Circuit, are four directors namely Samuel Oppong, Nana Akomea, Jaezi Orleansi-Lindsay and Eva Mens.
In total, Intercity STC is indebted to SSNIT to the tune of GHC3, 503, 743.
The figure comprises of GHC 1.3m of SSNIT contribution arrears and GHC 2.2m accumulated penalty on delayed payment.
Intercity STC, which is the nation’s premier transport company, has been accused of failing to pay the contributions from September 2019 to May 2020.
The accused have been slapped with two charges.
The first is failure to pay the contributions and the second is failure to pay penalty on delayed payments, contrary to Sections 83 (1)(d)(h) of the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766) as amended by section 7 of the National Pensions (Amendment) Act, 2014 (Act 883).
Prosecuting Officer, Mary Ann Kumi Bediako, told the court on Saturday, August 22, that the “accused were served with a demand notice on July 19, 2020. However they failed to comply”.
The prosecutor was left with no choice after the grace period elapsed but to proceed with legal action and criminal summons for the accused to answer the charges.
The accused did not appear in court but their lawyer was present when the case was called.
Counsel for the accused, Felix Nortey, invoked Section 70, Act 30 of the Criminal Offences Act and pleaded with the court to excuse the directors because they also work with other government institutions and cannot be present always.
Mr Nortey also prayed the court to be granted permission to negotiate with SSNIT to deal with the debt.
Presiding over the case, Her Honour Ama Hathia Manu, requested for a representative, preferably a management member before any considerations for excuse for the directors.
The case was subsequently adjourned to September 19, 2020.
Meanwhile, Intercity STC is expecting a COVID-19 bailout from the government, part of which is expected to be used to clear the arrears.
The COVID-19 pandemic affected operations of the company during the partial lockdown in April, 2020.
The firm ceased operations temporarily during the three-week period when movement was restricted in Accra, Kumasi, Tema and Tamale.
STC is a Ghanaian joint state and privately-owned transport company which operates, transport services, courier services, driver training as well as vehicle valuation, vehicle testing, and maintenance.
The roots and origin of intercity STC (ISTC) began in 1909 as a Government Transport Department to cater for the needs of the central government.
In 1965, it was made a body corporate by Legislative Instrument (L.I) number 414 of 9th March 1965 to run commercial passenger services and was then called the State Transport Corporation (STC).
In January 1968, the government also created a haulage division to cater for the haulage of both dry and wet cargo. This was also handed over to STC to manage as a bulk haulage division, to function alongside the passenger division.
STC was later incorporated in June 1995 as a Limited Liability Company under Ghana’s Companies Act, 1962, (Act 179) in the name, State Transport Company Limited.
Over the years, the company has gone through changes and operation challenges and is now known as the Intercity STC Coaches Limited since October 2003.
It runs services beyond Ghana to neighbouring countries such as, Togo, Cote D’voire and Burkina Faso.