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05.06.2006 Business & Finance

BoG overpays Ghana's creditors

By Ghanaian Time

Ghana has wrongfully paid a Spanish bank 10.3 million dollars, which has still not been recovered due to human error.

A report by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament said in carrying out its statutory obligations servicing the country's debts, the Bank of Ghana (B0G) has made over-payments to the tune of 10.3 million dollars to the Banco Espanpol de Credito of Spain.

This was due to laxity in the internal checks and supervisory controls over transfer of funds by the Central Bank.

The report, read in the House yesterday by Committee Chairman, Samuel Sallas-Mensah (NDC-Upper West Akim), was based on the Auditor-General's report on Foreign Exchange Receipts and payments of BOG for the two half years of 2002.

The committee restated the Auditor-General's recommendation that the Finance Ministry and the Central Bank take steps to recover the amount from the Spanish bank.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said BOG officials attributed the lapse to human error, and gave the assurance that the Central Bank had instituted stricter internal control mechanisms to prevent a recurrence.

He said the Auditor-General noted two overpayments to external beneficiaries totalling 13,986.36 dollars during the first half of 2002, resulting from the wrong application of the currency code.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said, β€œIn March 2002, the BOG transferred 24,171.04 pounds sterling instead of 24,171.04 dollars, to Banco Espanol de Creditor for debt service payment. This resulted in overpayment of 10,318.78 dollars.”

Similarly, it transferred 4,609.4 euros, instead 4,609.43 Kroner to the African Development Fund (ADF) in April 2002, resulting in an over-payment of 3,672.58 US dollars, but that amount was recovered in July 2003.

Mr Sallas-Mensah said, adding that the BOG had accordingly communicated the response to the Aid and Debt Management Unit (ADMU) of the Finance Ministry to contact the creditors for the refund, but to no avail.

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