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15.05.2008 Business & Finance

Public Accounts Committee saves Ghana billions

By Linda Akrasi Kotey - Ghanaian Chronicle
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The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament appears to be saving several billions of cedis for the country, which otherwise could have gone unnoticed.

Its public hearings have led to the exposure of series of misappropriation of state resources and underhand dealings in a number of public institutions.

Latest in the series of exposures is that of the educational sector in which some officials and heads of second cycle institutions have appeared before the committee to answer pertinent questions on their activities.

At its hearing yesterday, a former accountant of the Oti Banka Secondary Technical School in Dambai, appeared before the committee.

He was implicated by the Auditor General's (AGs) report to have misappropriated school fees to the tune of GH ¢350 Ghana cedis.

The AGs report to Parliament indicated that due to inadequate supervisory controls, two accounting staffs of the school were able to misappropriate school fees amounting to three hundred and fifty three Ghana cedis and seventy five pesewas (GH ¢3,537,755).

The AGs department thus requested that management of the school improve upon its supervisory controls over fees collection and recover the total amount from the accounting staff promptly.

When the accountant, Mr. Lawrence Yaw Konutsey, appeared before the committee, he tried to explain the circumstances which led to the situation.

According to him, he had been at the school for 7years and wanted to be transferred to another place.

This, he said did not go down well with the headmaster of the school, resulting in a situation where the headmaster refused to approve vouchers he sent to him to sign.

He thus noted that the money was used as transport each time he traveled from Dambai to Akatsi to deposit money at the bank, since the headmaster did not approve any money for the purpose.

According to him, he has since paid the money into the accounts of the school.

At the Some Secondary School in Agbozome, the AG report stated that an audit conducted in March 2005 disclosed that due to inadequate management supervision, a former bursar of the school failed to declare and hand over the cash on hand of GH ¢9,23,60, before going on transfer to Akatsi.

This, the report said was the result of excess cash holdings.

When he appeared before the committee, the former bursar admitted that he could not hand over cash to the auditors because the said amount was unavailable.

He explained that an accounts clerk whom he was working with in the school absconded with a days school fees paid by the students, when he refused to send the money to the bank as has been the practice.

He noted that the receipt books were left on the table of the officer but the monies were no where to be found, as such he reported the matter to the management of the school, who mounted a search for the officer.

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