OccupyGhana Barks Over GH¢107m Debt
Pressure group, OccupyGhana, is demanding the whereabouts of an amount of GH¢107,312,363.35 the Ministry of Youth and Sports claimed it had paid to entities under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA), now the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
The group has charged the ministry to supply it with information regarding what steps it had taken towards retrieving those state funds.
It said after careful study of the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana, Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), its interest had been drawn to the portion of the report that focuses on the ministry.
The pressure group, in a catalogue of demands dated June 1, 2015, to the minster of sports, wants the ministry among others things, to provide copies of all Memoranda of Understanding or other written agreements, if any, entered into between NYEP/GYEEDA and the entities.
It said with particular reference to Article 176 of the Constitution, 'We find it surprising that as at the date of the report, a total of GH¢136,820,153.15 had been disbursed to NYEP/GYEEDA in a clearly unconstitutional manner.'
The group stated that GYEEDA was provided with public funds in excess of its statutory budgetary provision of GH¢20,000,000 for 2012, to the tune of GH¢199,311,753, released through the ministry's accounts.
OccupyGhana was worried over what it described as 'suspicious business transactions' with selected organisations and companies.
With respect to Asongtaba, the group said the company according to the report, had three separate transactions – under a Memorandum of Understanding dated 12 October, 2009 and entered into between NYEP/GYEEDA resulting in the payment of GH¢7,185,475 as the contract sum for the training of 10,000 youth in dressmaking, bead making, drum making and carving.
It noted that according to the Report, 3,000 youth 'were not trained,' so that the company owed an amount of GH¢1,843,225 out of the total amount of public funds paid to it.
OccupyGhana averred that the company was given various 'interest-free loans' totalling GH¢42,268,520, supposed to be paid back within 27 to 72 months, but there had been no repayment and that two cheques written to pay a total of GH¢1,795,958.24 of the total indebtedness had been dishonoured upon presentation.
On RLG Communications – the company engaged to recruit and train 30,000 youth in ICT modules – OccupyGhana stated that a total contract sum of GH¢51,000,000 was paid but having received GH¢4,498,593, the company was given additional public funds to the tune of GH¢25,500,000 to train the first half of the targeted beneficiaries.
'The effect was that the company was overpaid GH¢4,498,593 as at the date of the Report,' it stated.
The pressure group said Zeera Group raised a voucher for the payment of GH¢8,549,949 in respect of work done, but inexplicably, it was paid funds of GH¢11,053,450, leading to an overpayment of GH¢2,503,501.
The company, it said, was also given funds totalling GH¢4,931,630.66, for alleged road maintenance module work, which the Report considered invalid with an additional GH¢986,704.40 as an advance payment of a road maintenance module.
Craftpro by an MoU, received GH¢8,171,308.75 as 'interest-free loan,' out of which GH¢7,958,807.39 remained unpaid as at the date of the Report, OccupyGhana underscored.
New Vision Consult received GH¢642,925 as 'interest-free loan,' out of which GH¢527,925 remained unpaid as at the date of the Report.
OccupyGhana said Ghana Young Artisans Movement owed GYEEDA GH¢75,000, which was to be repaid over six years but as at the date of the Report, no payment had been made, with the unsubstantiated claim or explanation that the loan had been converted into working tools for beneficiaries.
Jioogiwu was given GH¢73,290 as a 'set-up fund' to be repaid within three years. As at 31 August, 2013, a balance of GH¢53,490 remained unpaid whilst Centre for Development Partners was given GH¢300,000 as an 'interest-free loan' and no repayment had been made as at the date of the Report.
In respect of the Ghallywood African Film Village, OccupyGhana stated that funds totalling GH¢1,320,000, described as 'set-up funds,' were paid and no repayment had been made as at the date of the Report.
By: Jeffrey De-Graft Johnson