PAC advocates prudence in public finance and transactions in MDAs as MoGCSP snubs its Invitation

Officials of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) cited for several infractions in the 2017 Auditor-General’s Report of the Public Accounts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies failed to appear before the Public Accounts Committee on Friday.

The Ministry together with the Transport and Highways as well as the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General have been scheduled to appear before the Committee, which begun its public sittings on Thursday 25th June 2021, today Wednesday July 07 2021 as the PAC brought its proceedings to a close.

The Report indicted the MoGCSP for unauthorized investment of GHS 16,000,000 Ghana School Feeding Programme funds in Dalex Finance and Cal Bank, failure to pay withholding tax of GHS 9,461,880 to the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and unretired imprest of GHS79,500 contrary to Regulation 282 of Financial Administration Regulation 2004.

Other infractions the Report detected include payment of unearned salary at its Sekondi Social Welfare Office and an unearned salary totalling GHS 6,047.64 paid to a Social Development Assistant at Accra Head Office after the officer vacated post from January to December 2016.

When the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development took their turn to respond to their queries, it was established that the Regional Director of the Fisheries Commission at Kumasi failed to use a competitive process to select a supplier for the purchase of fish feed.

The Auditor-General could not therefore ascertain the reasonableness of the contract awarded Raanan Fish Feed West Africa amounting to GHS 23,260 and therefore urged the Commission to comply strictly with the requirements of the procurement law.

However the Committee absolved Phillip Attakpah, a former National Project Coordinator for the implementation of FAO/GOG Co-operative Programme who was cited for receiving unearned salary of GHS 31,480 because it was found out that he actually worked during the period.

The Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Godfred Dame flanked by his two deputies and top officials of the Ministry had little difficulty explaining the Auditor-General’s query of three payment vouchers without relevant supporting documents totalling GHS 6,371.90.

He however disclosed that the Delta Force vigilante group who stormed the Kunasi Circuit in 2017 to free 13 of their members facing charges of causing mayhem but were discharged by then Attorney General for nolle prosequi are still under investigation by the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

The Roads and Highways Ministry led by the sector Minister Amoako Attah apart from failing to meet specification in the construction of a modular ferry in respect of ladders with non-slip square rungs and manholes in the Damen Modular Pontoons had a smooth sail before the Committee.

The Audit Report revealed that the Modular Ferry constructed by Messrs Damen Ship Building Netherlands at a cost of EUR 2,788,500 failed to meet the required specifications the Committee found out that the anomaly was corrected when the Contractor was recalled to site.

While the Committee commended MDAs that appeared before the panel and those that responded to their queries, it lamented that many agencies have refused to comply with accounting systems put in place by the Office of the Accountant-General which is largely responsible for fraudulent transactions by some MDAs.
The Deputy Minority Leader James Klutse Avedzi who is the Chairman of the Committee therefore tasked the Auditor-General to ensure that agencies of government comply with the accounting systems and procedures specified by the office of the Accountant-General.

He announced that the plenary would consider the eventual recommendations of the Committee after it comes up with a document that neatly outlines and summarises them for consideration including its recommendations on government agencies that failed to honour its invitations.

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