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20.10.2007 General News

Two institutions grilled for financial malfeasance

By GNA


The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development and the Ghana Parliamentary Service on Friday came under fire at the Finance Committee's hearing as the Committee queried officials on financial issues.

The Auditor Generals Report for the years 2004 and 2005 noted that, contrary to 1979 Financial Administration Regulation, the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) paid a total amount of 24.5 million from the rental of the Ministry's canteen facilities into a departmental account rather than the Consolidated Fund.

Some 11.5 million cedis of the amount lodged was invested in treasury bills. Committee Members vehemently queried the Ministry's officials for insufficient documentation of a total amount of 14.39 billion cedis paid to Auto Parts Limited for the purchase of 117 Double Cabin Nissan Pick-Up 4wd for the use of District Chief Executives between February and April 2003.

"Where are the vehicles", Mr Enoch Teye Mensah (NDC-Ningo Prampram) and Mr Stephen Kwaku Balado Manu (NPP-Ahafo Ano South) asked?

Under Section 707 of the Financial Administration Act, every Head of Department is generally responsible for the care and custody of the equipment held by his staff and particularly responsible for keeping accurate records of equipment held, its location and the officer in-charge of it at any time.

A response from the Ministry said the records of the vehicle purchase were with the then Special Assistant or Larry Attafuah, who was then the schedule officer.

However the Audit Report indicated that management could neither produce the allocation list for the 117 vehicles nor copies of the letters communicating the transfer of the vehicles to the Assemblies involved.

Also, the Ministry made an excessive payment of 94 million cedis in respect of 240 litre dustbins from Messrs Blessing Business Contact for its Environmental Health Unit during the period under review.

Additionally, the Ministry did not record fuel and lubricant purchases of 1.45 billion cedis for the period July 2003 to December 2004. This was because drivers at the Ministry did not make entries in the logbooks.

The Committee did not accept the explanation of Mr D.A. Nyankamewu, Chief Director of the Ministry, that the problem was that of oversight or administrative lapses. He explained that the drivers entered the purchases into notebooks rather than the logbooks.

Mr Nyankamewu submitted that in place of a technical transport officer, there was a schedule officer as the transport officer was dismissed.

The Committee recommended that the Ministry engaged a technical transport officer who would insist on the proper entries at both headquarters and the district levels.

It also suggested the strengthening of the internal control measures of the Ministry.

Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chairman of the Committee, observed that the transportation unit was one of the most difficult areas for the internal auditor, and reminded such personnel that they develop a lot of enemies, but should not be deterred in the rightful performance of their duties.

The Committee queried the Parliamentary Service on the 4.6 billion cedis which the Service paid to contractors and suppliers for which it did not issue receipts, wrongful payment of fuel maintenance allowance of 115 million cedis, an imprest of 84.4 million cedis that was not accounted for, unaccounted payment vouchers of 443.3 million cedis and expenditure of 52.8 million cedis.

Much of the problems stem from the absence of Audit Report Implementation Unit Committee, which the new clerk, Mr Kwasi Anyimadu promised would soon be put in place.

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