Fifteen Assemblies in the Western and Western North regions have been cited for cash irregularities in the 2018 Auditor-General’s (AG) report for disbursing a total of GH¢1,870,842.91 from various accounts including the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) with unsupported payments.
The report explained that, Regulations 39 of the Financial Administration Regulation(FAR) 2004, LI1802 required that heads ofaccounts sections of the department shall control the disbursement of funds and ensure that transactions are properly authenticated to show that amounts are due and payable.
However, the AG reported that, the 15 assemblies disbursed GH¢1, 870,842.91 on goods and services,but failed to substantiate the payments with supporting documents such asreceipts,invoices andprogramme reports.
“Poor supervision on the part of Coordinating Directors and Finance Officer to ensure that these relevant documents were obtained before payments were made accounted for the lapses.These cast doubts over the judicious use of funds as they could lead to misappropriation andmisapplication of public funds.We recommend that the respective Coordinating Directors and Finance Officers should refund the amount involved,” the AG stated.
These were revealed on Tuesday at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament hearings ongoing inTakoradi in the Western Region to examine 2018 AG’s report on the management and utilisation of DACFand other statutory funds for the year ending31 December 2018.
The records showed for example that, the Aowin District in the Western North, generated three Payment Vouchers (PVs) for the repair of vehicles and security operations at the cost of GH¢17,832.52 from the DACF,Prestea-Huni Valley Municipal Assembly, 17 PVs for various transactions amounting to GH¢70,080, from DACF.
Again,SefwiWiawsoraised 49 PVs for capacity building at the cost of GH¢172,839.40,SefwiAkontombra, spent GH¢51,634 for the clearing of dumping site from the DACF,Tarkwa-Nsuaem raised 38 PVs for GHC233,361.98 for rent, renovation and other works and WassaAmenfi East, 16 PVs for various transactions at the cost of GH¢148,509.15, also from the DACF.
Responding to the Aowin team responses about challenges in raising warrants for their transactions, the Vice Chairman of PAC,Mr Samuel Atta Mills, wondered why the Finance Officer could not present supporting documents to Auditors, and waited for four years before doing so at the hearing.
“You should ensure that documents are available to auditors for verification. You don’t wait all these while and come here before you present them.We will be directing the clerk to forward these issues to the Attorney-General’s. Beware, we will be serious with prosecutions on cases of unsupported documents.”
The Chairman ofPAC,Dr James KlutseAvedzi strongly maintained that the committee was serious with financial infractions and would not tolerate lapses on the part ofmanagement of the assemblies.
He continued “You must be prepared before coming by submitting the documents to the auditors.We’re not joking. We did not come to Takoradi for fun; we are serious and we’re inserious business.This issue of not certifying documents goes toall of you the assemblies and officers.Next time we’ll refer you to the Attorney-General for prosecution.”
MrAvedzi told the WassaEast team “You wait for fouryears before you come with PVs, manufacturing receipts. Aday will come we will not accept them here.”
DrClement Apaak, a member of PAC, also reiterated the views of the committee and warned that the days ofprosecution for various infractions would soon come, noting that the Ghanaian Times explicitly carried the directives on the prosecution of some school managers on Tuesday.
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI