The African Development Bank (ADB) has stated that the performance of the 31st December Women's Movement (DWM), particularly with respect to the appropriation of huge sums of money it collected through the Government of Ghana (GoG) for projects, has been woefully below expectation.
The bank therefore recommended the immediate suspension of future disbursement of the movement's micro-credit funds until it demonstrated a convincing capacity to manage its finances well.
This was in sharp contrast to claims by the life president of the DWM, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings that Government had been stifling operations of the movement.
The former First Lady, who is currently on a media blitz shuttling between radio stations on what observers described as “a desperate white-wash mission”, had contended that the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration was not women-friendly.
The ADB recommended that the Government of Ghana (GoG) suspended without delay all DWM project accounts in the country until the movement showed transparency in its financial dealings.
“While awaiting satisfactory information related to the requests raised, the mission feels the Government of Ghana would be prudent to suspend the Movement of all project accounts across the country”, the bank indicated.
These and many more startling revelations were contained in an Auditor-General's report following a re-visitation of a 2001 Aide Memoire signed by Ms. Debra Bucher, Gender Expert and Mr. Z. El Badri, Acting Director of ADB on the movement's projects in Ghana.
Prominent among the factors that prompted the ADB decision were the failure to account for huge sums of government contributions, lack of fund monitoring, poor accounting records, and the fact that no impact had been made on the lives of the supposed beneficiaries of the movement's income-generating activities.
Dated July 11, 2006 and signed by Dr. Edward Duah Agyeman, Auditor-General, the report stated that it had become necessary to revisit the AfDB Aide Memoire so as to constantly remind Government of the status of DWM and caution it against dealing with the movement.
“The purpose of revisiting this AfDB Aide Memoire is to constantly keep you reminded of the observations and recommendations, and to repudiate any agreement in respect of any guarantee and financial support contracted between DWM and GoG”, it stated.
In respect of the suspected poor handling of funds, the Memoire noted: “According to the projects records, a US$73,000 cash contribution by the Government of Ghana (GoG) was not paid to the project.”
The movement was again cited for ineffectiveness and lack of impact on members it claimed it was fighting for.
“In the opinion of the mission, the project has mixed results at this point. The social amenities and income generating activities have not had an impact on the beneficiaries due to incompletion of some structures and the lack of necessary equipment and furniture,” it stressed.
Apart from that, it was revealed that poor records and monitoring had made the huge sums of monies loaned to the Women in Development (WID) component of the NGO's programmes unaccounted for.
It said; “A total of FUA366,001 has been disbursed by the Bank for this component. However, the lack of up-to-date portfolio reporting and maintenance of books of records at the PMU makes it difficult to get a true picture of the financial position of the revolving funds.”
Stating also that there were glaring problems with DWM revolving funds, the report said among other things that “further disbursements of the micro-credit funds be suspended until DWM demonstrates to the Bank and the GoG its capacity to continue management of funds”.
Nana Konadu had in recent weeks granted hours of airtime interviews to several FM stations in the country, during which she contended that her organisation was the envy of Government because she, the president of DWM, was independently minded.
She made the proclamation on Radio Gold, Joy FM, Happy FM, Citi FM, and Angel Radio among others.
The former First Lady was expected to storm the studios of Hot FM and others soon.