Call it right or wrong, the good people of Ghana have come to accept the work of the Sellas Mensah-chaired Public Accounts Committee as a step in the right direction.
The committee since its inception is believed to have effected considerable positive change in the manner through which the Ministries, Departments and Agencies carry out their duties specifically relating to finances.
The mere mention of the PAC sends shivers down the spines of people whose conscience convicts them of having some unappreciable financial skeletons in their closets and constantly live with the fervent fear that, the Committee will soon catch up with them.
Yesterday, the PAC gave its approval to a recommendation by the Disciplinary Committee of the Ghana Education Service ordering the deduction of GH¢9200 from the End of Service benefit of a former Headmistress of Mfantsiman Girls Senior High School, Elizabeth Afedua Croffie, for over invoicing purchases of fresh tuna when she was the headmistress of the school.
This came up when at the second public sitting of the PAC, the Auditor General presented a report on the Public Accounts of Ghana concerning pre-tertiary educational institutions for the four year period ending 31st December 2004.
The audit revealed that between January 2002 to November 2003, an amount of GH¢28,830 was spent on the purchases of fresh tuna at a unit cost of between GH¢800 and GH¢1000 per ton.
The report pointed out that, a market survey conducted within the same period disclosed that the unit cost per ton of fresh tuna was estimated at GH¢500. The school therefore lost an estimated amount of GH¢11,975 through over invoicing due to the failure to invite quotations from different sources as required by section 689 of the Financial Administration Regulation now reflected in section 43(I) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003, Act 663.
Mad Croffie however explained that, this was due to the fact that the fish she bought was of a higher quality than those on the market, but the director of Internal Audit, GES, J M Quao informed the committee that the disciplinary committee chaired by J Ayikoi Otoo, a former Attorney General looked into the case and arrived at such a conclusion, to which Mad Croffie consented.
Enoch Teye Mensah (NDC, Ningo/Prampram) and other members expressed displeasure with the education service s decision, and proposed that a sub-committee of the PAC should be set up to investigate the matter.
Mr Sellas Mensah however ruled that the PAC stands by the Auditor General s decision and accordingly, Mrs Croffie should pay the money from her pension.