Private legal practitioner Mr Kofi Bentil has told the Special Prosecutor Mr Kissi Agyebeng to retrieve funds meant for the fight against Covid but were diverted.
In his view, the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) will prove its usefulness by acting to retrieve the cash and jailing the culprits.
“This will be the truest test of the OSP. If he retrieves the Covid funds or jails the thieves, he will prove his usefulness otherwise we can dump him too as a useless outfit!” Mr Bentil who is also a Vice President of Imani Africa wrote on Facebook.
He was commenting on the Auditor-General’s report on the spending of Covid funds.
Former Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo also called for the arrest and prosecution of officials who have been caught in the report to have misapplied public funds.
Mr Domelevo indicated that in some African countries including Malawi, ministers of state and other officials who were cited for misusing public funds were sacked and arrested.
“I think if you look at the report it says nothing more than to say moneys were misused or used for wrong purposes and used in a manner that even if you put the law aside you will ask yourself, does common sense allow that?” He said on the Key Points on Tv3 Saturday, January 28.
He added “…why is it so, it is because there are no consequences for misbehavior or misuse of public funds. In Malawi, when the audit report came out the President made a public statement where he said he has sacked the Minister who was a member of his cabinet because that Minister used part of his money to go to Zambia.
“…Again, he directed that the officers cited in the case should all be arrested, when he was making the statement he said they had been arrested. That is what I am expecting we should do something like that to stop the dissipation, the thievery of public funds in Ghana.”
The report noted among other things 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.
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|3news.com|Ghana