Ministry of Tourism has told the Public Accounts Committee that the financial account of the Marine Drive Project is empty and negatively impacting the progress of the project.
Figures from the 2020 Auditor General’s report indicate that an amount of GH¢387,106 was misapplied, and it recommended a refund to the project account.
But the amount is yet to be retrieved three years on.
Speaking at the Public Accounts Committee meeting, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Tourism, John Yaw Agbeko revealed that the project is no longer under the supervision of the Tourism Ministry but under the Office of the President.
Mr. Agbeko told PAC “there is no money in that account [Marine Drive Project’s account]” and added that it was not in his capacity to know where or how the money was utilized”.
He further indicated that “works under the Marine Drive Project are progressing very slowly” due to a lack of funds.
The Marine Drive Accra is a 241-acre redevelopment scheme of Accra's waterfront initiated by Ghana's Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture. The brief for the project — the origins of which trace back to the country's independence 60 years ago — called for a scheme that would establish an iconic skyline for Accra and transform the capital's city center into a world-class tourism enclave. The Marine Drive Accra project will also provide essential infrastructure to support the country's developing cultural and creative industries. GH¢387K Marine Drive Project cash 'misused' on AFRIMA, Kundum Festival
A former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, under the Akufo-Addo administration, Catherine Afeku, and other government officials at the ministry were cited by the Auditor-General's report for misapplying state resources.
The Auditor-General's report for the period ended 31 December 2020, stated that an amount of GH¢387,196.00 meant for the Marine Drive project was misapplied.
“In contravention of Section 7 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), we noted that funds meant for the Marine Drive project amounting to GH¢387,196.00 were misapplied for the celebration of AFRIMA, Kundum Festival, and other activities,” it stated.
An amount of GH¢73,000.00 was paid as additional expenditure or for the Minister's trip to the Volta Region from 15th to 18th June 2018.
On 7th March 2018, GH¢13,296.00 was paid as an accountable imprest for the Minister at the time, Catherine Afeku, to travel to the Western Region on official assignment.
There was also a payment of an allowance for the opening panel for procurement of vehicle on 3rd May 2018 at the cost of GH¢ 900.00.
The audit report also mentioned the release of GH¢100,000.00 to Palm Media Ghana Ltd. for the launch of AFRIMA 2018 on 17th-19th May 2018, and GH¢200,000 as funds to support Kundum Festival from 1st – 9th September 2018.
It has, therefore, recommended that the Chief Director ensures a refund from the operations account into the Marine Drive project account, failing which the amount should be recovered from the Chief Director.