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23.03.2006 General News

MPs to access Common Fund through Assemblies

By GNA

Accra, March 23, GNA - The facility allowing Members of Parliament (MPs) to have access to their share of the District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF) directly from the DACF Secretariat has now been suspended. Mr Joshua Magnus Nicol, DACF Administrator who disclosed this on Thursday in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra, said the new measure, which took immediate effect, was to ensure transparency and enhance effective supervision of the MPs' share of the Common Fund. "However, MPs are to continue to access their funds through their Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies", he said.

Mr Nicol said the directive comes with the provision that District Chief Executives (DCEs) would be required to approve requests by MPs for access to their share of the Common Fund within 14 days of the request, or notify the MPs within the 14 days if the request would not be approved. He said MPs could petition the Minister of Local Government and Rural Development if DCEs failed to respond to their requests after 15 days. He said District Coordinating Directors and District Finance Officers in the District Assemblies were the only signatories to cheques drawn on the DACF, for both MPs and the Assemblies.

Mr Nicol said the decision to channel the disbursement of the MPs Common Fund through the District Assemblies had been prompted by reports that some MPs had contravened guidelines on the use of the DACF. He said lack of effective cooperation between some MPs and District Assemblies had resulted in funds meant for development projects and programmes within constituencies being left unused. The DACF Administrator said separate accounts would still be maintained for both the MPs' share of the Fund and the DACF, adding, "Districts are not allowed to use the MPs share of the Fund without specific authorisation from the MP concerned."

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