Covid funds: Exercise your power to surcharge and disallow – NDC tells Auditor-General


The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has told the Auditor-General Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu to exercise his power to surcharge and disallow rather than just making recommendations in his reports.

National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi said he must act to retrieve all the Covid funds that have found their way into the pockets of private individuals.

Speaking at the NDC’s maiden edition of the moment of truth series in Accra on Wednesday, February 1 on the recent Auditor-General’s report on Covid funds utilization, he said “The Auditor General must exercise his powers to a surcharge and disallow, he must retrieve all funds.”

Sammy Gyamfi also asked President Akufo-Addo to “Investigate all ministers and public officials who have been cited in the report. Fire the Minister of Finance, Health Minister, Minister of Information, CEO of National Food Buffer Stock Company who have been cited in the A-G’s report for violating the laws of this country in the expenditure of Covid funds.”

The Auditor-General report stated that “During our review, we noted that senior management staff and other supporting staff of the Ministry of Information paid themselves a total amount of GH¢151,500.00 as COVID-19 risk allowance for coming to work during the lockdown.”

It further indicated that the Ministry of Health (MoH) entered a contract signed on 15 December 2021 for the supply of 26 Toyota Hiace Deluxe Ambulances valued at US$4,049,460.12 out of which US$607,419.02 was paid vide PV No. IPF 22-007 of 2 September 2022 to be delivered by 15 January 2022.

However, the report said, the ambulances remained undelivered as of 28 November 2022.

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According to the latest report on government expenditure between March 2020 and June 2022, the Chief Director explained that the supplier applied for an extension to meet some technical specifications.

“Under the current economic difficulties, the supplier could apply for price variation to unduly increase the cost of the contract which could have been avoided if the ambulances had been supplied as scheduled,” it said.

It added that “Management has indicated that upon technical inspection by the World
Bank, additional specifications have been recommended and the contract has therefore been extended to March 2023.

“We recommended that the Chief Director should ensure that the ambulances are delivered no further than the extended date of March 2023.”

The Ministry of Finance welcomed the report and assured the public that steps are being taken to address all issues raised in it.

“The following inventions are currently being pursued by the Ministry;’ Meetings are being organized to engage with the implementing agencies to evaluate actions taken to implement the audit recommendations in the report; Preparations for an emergency expenditure Management Guideline.’

“This guideline will provide the government with administrative protocols in times of emergency such as the Covd-19 pandemic to ensure compliance with relevant PFM regulations while providing a timely response.”

By Laud Nartey||Ghana


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