The Minority in Parliament has called on the Auditor-General to as a matter of urgency constitute an Audit team involving the services of a reputable international Audit Firm to immediately audit the processes leading to the supposed transfer and the expenditure of the GH₵600million allocated to the Agenda 111 project.
A statement by the Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh said the Finance Ministry’s response to the concerns raised by the Minority in Parliament, suggests that government is hiding the truth about the GH₵600 million expenditure.
“The statement is alarming in that it raises even more concerns about the chain of custody of the GH₵600 million allocated for AGENDA 111 projects,” the statement said.
The GHS600 million allocated to the Agenda 111 project is yet to be utilised, according to the Finance Ministry.
In a statement responding to concerns raised by the Minority in Parliament, the ministry said the amount has been released into the project account at the Bank of Ghana.
Government expects to “drawdown various amounts from the account, which would be managed by the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund (GIIF).”
The money was first released to the Health Infrastructure Account at the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to support the implementation of the District and Regional Hospital projects back in 2020.
Moving forward, the Ministry said the amount “will be disbursed to contractors in accordance with the project work plan.”
It noted further that only GHS36 million, which the minority also questioned, “has been released as part of pre-construction mobilisation.”
But the Minority in its statement wants Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), to look into the claims and ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the Finance Ministry’s claims.
“We also wish to serve notice that, if the Auditor General fails to Act within 2 weeks, we will have no option than to start the processes of collecting enough signatures from Members of Parliament to trigger a recall of Parliament so that a committee of Parliament can investigate the Missing GH₵ 600 million from the consolidated fund.”
Below is the full statement:
For Immediate Release:
MINORITY STATEMENT ON THE MISSING GH₵600 MILLION FROM THE CONSOLIDATED FUND SINCE 2020
The Minority in Parliament has read with utmost shock and alarm a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance in response to its recent call for accountability for an amount of GH₵600million released or utilized in 2020 for the management of AGENDA 111 projects.
Although the statement in itself did not address the entirety of concerns raised in our press statement regarding the sufficiency of allocations, the appropriacy of the implementing agency (Office of the President) and the propriety of procurement methods leading to the award of contracts; we find the explanations on the GH₵600million expenditure rather bizarre, to say the least.
The statement is alarming in that it raises even more concerns about the chain of custody of the GH₵600 million allocated for AGENDA 111 projects.
We, therefore, put forward a few questions:
Did government release GH₵600 million for the Agenda 111 in 2020 as per the Ministry of Finance’s statement and when did this happen? Why was this not captured in the 2021 Budget?
Which agency of government is implementing Agenda 111 and is that agency different from the agency holding custody of funds for the same project? Why?
Are funds purported to be lodged at the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund meant for investment management or they are lodged there to be made available to the implementing agency on demand?
Assuming that funds have been released for Agenda 111 projects, what has been the chain of custody of the funds since they left the Consolidated Accounts at the BoG?
Can government, without releasing funds from the Bank of Ghana to the implementing agency admit to having released same and present same to parliament and the people of Ghana?
Government’s communication and explanations leads to a rather unfortunate conclusion that government is hiding the truth about the GH₵600 million expenditure and from all the contradictions, it may be that the GH₵600 million is Missing.
In view of the above, we call on the Auditor General to immediately constitute an Audit team involving the services of a reputable international Audit Firm such as Price Waterhouse coopers (PWC), to immediately Audit the processes leading to the supposed transfer and the expenditure of the 600 million between the Ministry of finance, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Bank of Ghana, the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Chief of Staff to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the Ministry of Finance.
We also wish to serve notice that, if the Auditor General fails to Act within 2 weeks, we will have no option than to start the processes of collecting enough signatures from Members of Parliament to trigger a recall of Parliament so that a committee of Parliament can investigate the Missing GH₵ 600 million from the consolidated fund.
Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (MP)
MP for Juaboso & Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health