The Hall Master of Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon, Prof. Harry Akussah, has been cleared of charges of misappropriation of funds levelled against him by the Junior Common Room (JCR) President of the Hall, Mr Benjamin Akyena Brantuo.
The Vice Chancellor, Prof. C.N.B Tagoe, has, therefore, directed the Hall President (Mr Brantuo) to retract the allegations that he made against Prof. Akussah, and that the retraction must be given as much publicity as when he (Brantuo) made the allegations.
A statement signed by the Registrar of the university, Mr A.T. Konu, said an internal audit conducted into the accounts of the Hall and the JCR, established that the allegations against the Hall Master were false, baseless and mischievous.
“The audit also found as untrue the allegation that the Master of Commonwealth Hall had diverted money from JCR funds,” it explained.
On November 16, 2006, Mr Brantuo alleged that Prof. Akussah had diverted over ¢1.5 billion out of JCR funds, and that he had also made questionable payments leading to fraud and was in breach of financial and administrative procedures.
The statement directed Mr Brantuo to write a letter of apology to the Hall Master.
“The Vice Chancellor has also directed that all moneys disbursed to the JCR should be fully accounted for by the President, Vice President and Treasurer, and that failure to do so satisfactorily will lead to their final results and certificates being withheld,” it said.
According to the internal audit report, the Hall Master alleged that ¢51 million was unaccounted for during the 48th Hall Week celebration while he (JCR Preident) was also unable to account for the sale of 50 T-shirts and 50 scarves.
The findings of the report said the Hall accounts were up to date and followed the University of Ghana Financial and Stores Regulations, adding that “JCR's final accounts for 2006 is yet to be prepared”.
It noted that Hall receipts of JCR dues for the past three years, 2004, 2005 and 2006, totalled ¢992,929,150 only, and that the JCR did not keep any accounting books over the years reviewed.
The report explained that the Hall Master did not consciously or otherwise prevent audit of the 2004 and 2005 final accounts of the JCR, adding that the impatience of the appointed Audit Board members for 2004 rather stalled the audit.
“The alleged violations of financial and administrative procedures by the Hall Master were found not to be true, since he, by convention, only followed procedures that were established before 1998 when he was not in office,” it stated.
It said the alleged diversion of about ¢1.5 billion out of the JCR account by the Hall Master had been faltered, and that audit evidence showed that total amounts collected by the Hall on behalf of the JCR was ¢992,929,150 only, which “was duly paid into the Hall's account as and when received in line with existing financial arrangement”.
On allegations of questionable payments leading to fraud, it said, the audit noted that some prices of goods procured on behalf of the JCR were inflated and had recommended refunds to the tune of ¢25,235,000 by the JCR executive.
It said the allegation by the Hall Master that ¢51 million released by the Hall to the JCR President during the 48th Hall Week celebration had not been accounted was upheld, explaining that the JCR executive claimed that the money was spent on Hall Week activities but were unable to produce evidence in the form of receipts covering payments allegedly made.
The report indicated that the allegation in respect of the inability to account for the sale of 50 T-shirts and 50 scarves by the JCR President had been found to be true, and that “the President and his Vice are to refund the total cost of ¢2,000,000”.
“A sponsorship package of ¢10,000,000 received on behalf of the JCR during the Hall Week by the JCR President is to be accounted for by him or be surcharged accordingly,” it said.
The audit team was led by the acting Director, Mr F.P.K. Agbekoh. The other members were messers Stephen Anyigbah, Mike Federick K. Gle and Fedelis A. Tornui.