Former President John Mahama has called for forensic audit of receipts and expenditure of the COVID-19 funds across Africa.
He said that had become necessary following published audit report by the Auditor General of Ghana, which he said had exposed “staggering instances of corruption running into billions of Ghana cedis”.
Mr Mahama said this when he delivered a lecture at Chatham House in the United Kingdom under the theme: “Africa's strategic priorities and global role”.
The lecture among other things discussed the prospects for economic recovery and growth on the African continent in light of recent debt crisis that has compelled African countries, including Ghana to seek debt treatment under the G20 Common Framework.
The government in 2020 during the height of COVID-19 pandemic was able to mobilise over GH¢21.8 billion to mitigate the impact of the pandemic from the World Bank, IMF, the European Union (EU), the African Development Bank (AfDB), Ghana's Contingency Fund, and from the sale of Bank of Ghana COVID-19 Bonds.
The former President accused the government of jettisoning the financial and procurement laws by “hiding under the emergency situation to refuse to use the GIFMIS system, which is the agreed budget and accounting digital platform to avoid thorough scrutiny”.
He said such financial malpractices discouraged delivery of grants and concessionary loans to Africa.
“I have indicated that we need a forensic audit into the receipts and expenditure of the COVID-19 funds in Ghana. The forensic audit may be extended to other countries in Africa to restore investor confidence as we build the Africa we want, ” he said.
Mr Mahama said Africa needed to build stronger institutions to address institutional and political decay and in doing that, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Africa must be prioritised.
“On this note, let me commend many of the CSOs on our Continent that are holding governments accountable,” he said.