MMDAs To Be Sanctioned Over Misappropriation
The just ended Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting in Ho, the Volta regional capital, has sparked a lot of public agitation over the inability of the Parliamentary committee to issue sanctions and other punitive measures to offenders of the state.
According to some residents of the Volta region who monitored the sitting on local radio stations and at the venue, the Ho Polytechnic auditorium, the entire sitting was just a talk shop and a waste of precious time and money.
One of them, Mark Adive Ashong, said 'this whole thing was a waste of time and money. It is actually an opportunity to create the impression that something was being done about corruption, but in reality nothing was happening. People may even be taking advantage of the PAC sitting as another means of chopping money.'
The PAC sitting in Ho is the last lap of the nationwide tour which has taken the committee to regional capitals such as Tamale, Kumasi and Cape Coast to grill management of the various metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) on issues of mismanagement of the public purse, disregard for due process and procedure in revenue and fund management and embezzlement among others.
The revelations had come out of the latest audit report of the Auditor General's Department presented to Parliament.
The report, which bridges the gap of the backlog of audit reports, covers 2010, 2011 and 2012 on the management and utilisation of District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) and other statutory funds as well as the Internally Generated Funds (IGF) of the various assemblies.
The Ho sitting considered the accounts of the Greater Accra, Eastern and Volta regions.
The Auditor General's report, according to the PAC, revealed that 48.4 million Ghana cedis was lost by the state through mismanagement of statutory funds, including the District Assembly Common Fund, by mmDAs across the country during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 financial years.
To the disappointment of many Ghanaian's, and in this case Voltarians, all those found culpable were just urged to make the necessary reconciliations and warned not to repeat their mistakes since that was their last chance.
PAC Will Bite
reacting to the frustrations of the public, the Chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, expressed frustrations over the findings of the report and noted that the committee and the entire Parliament shared in the frustrations of the public.
However, he argued that it was not the mandate of Parliament to prosecute or sanction anybody, noting that it will be unfair to say 'the PAC cannot bite.'
Mr Agyemang-Manu, who is also the MP of Dormaa West in the Brong-Ahafo region, however explained that what the PAC could do was to make recommendations in the form of prosecution, sanctions and fines, among others, which have to be enforced by other statutory institutions like the Attorney General's Department, Police and other security agencies.
This was backed by the Deputy ranking member of the PAC and MP for North-Dayi in the Volta region, George Loh, who said this lap of the PAC sitting was the bottom line. As a result, from the next reports which are 2013 and 2014, the PAC will use its Parliamentary powers to compel the necessary agencies to carry out sanctions recommended after the PAC sitting, he added.
The PAC also hinted of a new legislation that will compel authorities, including metropolitan, municipal and District Chief Executives, to complete existing projects before initiating new ones.
This follows instances cited in the Auditor General's report on the accounts of the MMDAs that several millions of Ghana cedis pumped into various infrastructure projects yielded little as majority of them were either abandoned or left uncompleted over the years across the country.
Committee members expressed worry over the situation, which they say was not only a drain on the limited public resources but also denied citizens of benefitting from such projects.
The committee's Chairman, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, recounting a number of such uncompleted projects since the 1970s, said the committee has unanimously agreed to include the new legislation in its recommendations to Parliament as a means of curbing the age old practice.
The committee added that it will recommend that the Auditor General's report is added to the Functional and Organisational Assessment Tool (FOAT) and made a requirement for Assemblies to access their DACF, District Development Fund (DDF) and other statutory funds.
From Fred Duodu, Ho