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02.02.2005 Regional News

Assembly members “Share” ¢200m Poverty fund

By Chronicle
Assembly members “Share” ¢200m Poverty fund

…They call it “protocol” Contrary to the laws regulating the disbursement of Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) by District Assemblies, The Chronicle has evidence that some members of the Bosomtwe-Atwima-Kwanwoma District Assembly, with express authorization allocated to themselves and actually did benefit from the Assembly's share of the Poverty Alleviation Fund released for 2003.

The Fund had not been disbursed until last year, following the indecision o use it for projects or loan it out to those who needed them.

A total of ¢200 million was allocated to assembly members instead of vulnerable groups as spelt out by the guidelines governing the disbursement of the Fund.

Out of the total ¢1 billion allocated to the Assembly, ¢480 million went to the Bosomtwe area while ¢320 million was supposedly given out to the Atwima-Kwanwoma area of the district.

The remaining ¢200 million, according to the Minutes of the Third Ordinary Meeting went to Assembly Members and other staff of the Assembly as “Protocol”, whatever that means.

The Chronicle source quoted the Presiding Member, Mr. Joseph Kwasi Asuming as having announced this at the said meeting on December 17, 2004.

Asuming, who also benefited from the loan has collaborated in the allocation of ¢200 million of the PAF to some assembly members and staff of the Assembly.

He said it was a norm that assembly members were given “special concession” under the Fund. He said those who needed financial assistance could apply through him (Presiding member) for consideration and approval and did not see anything wrong with the arrangement.

The beneficiaries, according to the Presiding member, received between ¢1million and ¢3 million. He said though some of the beneficiaries had repaid, majority of them were yet to fully pay back. “They have a year to repay,” he said. He also said the ¢79 million used by the DCE, Mr. Addai Mununkum to repair his accident car was taken out of the PAF. The DCE had after the accident, also acquired a new vehicle at ¢80 million from the Fund.

But managers of the Fund in other districts have informed The Chronicle that there is nothing like protocol as far as the disbursement of PAF is concerned and that its institutionalization is not right.

The Local Government provides guidelines for its disbursement and that anything short of these provisions is a negation of the guidelines governing its management.

According to our source, it is unethical to set aside a percentage or portion of the PAF for the benefit of the Assembly members and other staff of the Assembly.

A DCE (name withheld) simply said, “It's never done anywhere”. He said the Fund is allocated to beneficiaries on merit and that whoever has allocated it to Assembly members has “flattened” the purpose of the Fund.

Meanwhile, the DCE, Mr. Bright Addai Mununkum has announced that the Assembly received a total of ¢4.649 billion as its share of the District Assemblies Common Fund for 2004.

For the first quarter, ¢995,892,244 was released followed by receipts of second and third quarterly allocations of ¢652,001,476 and ¢1,127,683,987 respectively. He also disclosed that the Assembly realized ¢1,425,110,617.21 from its internally generated sources, which was over and above the projected revenue figure of ¢1,227,730,030.

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