Ofori-Atta’s account on Covid spending raises more suspicions – Apaak

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Member of Parliament for Builsa South who is also a member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Dr Clement Apaak has stated that the Covid-19 expenditure accounts presented to parliament by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday 22 June, 2022 has raised more suspicions.

Issue of Ghana’s Covid-19 expenditure has been a critical political subject which has generated a lot of banter between the majority and minority groups in Ghana’s legislature.

It has also been a matter of public and media discussion for some time now.

Political actors and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have persisted with their demand for accountability on Ghana’s Covid-19 spending. The Minority in Parliament and even the Speaker at one point, insisted they would not approve any further budget from the Ministry of Finance until the sector minister appeared before the chamber to render Covid-19 expenditure accounts.

The Minister of Finance according appeared before Parliament and told the House that the government was prudent with COVID-19 resources to help protect lives and safeguard jobs.

Mr Ofori-Atta said every penny mobilised was used judiciously to enhance the country’s ability to contain the pandemic.

He explained that an amount of GH¢18.19 billion was mobilised in resources while GH¢12.04 billion was spent to contain the spread and mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on lives and properties.

Mr Ofori-Atta said the amount was expended between April 2020, when the pandemic struck the country, and May this year.
He also dismissed concerns that there were inconsistencies in the COVID-19 expenditures, stating that whatever was mobilised and spent had been documented and well accounted for.

But speaking on the Sunrise show on 3FM with Alfred Ocansey on Thursday June 23, Dr Apaak said “Anyone who has been following my side in parliament the NDC have been pushing in the public domain clearly will come to a conclusion that our suspicions and reasons for which we have been calling for a probe into Covid-19 expenditure are indeed justified and honorable.”

He also questions why the Covid-19 Trust which was published and publicized as well as had the support of parliament to come into existence was not mentioned in terms of the quantum of funds that got into those coffers and what they were used for was not mentioned in the minister’s account.

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin on Wednesday June 22 directed the Committees of Finance and Health to interrogate further the Covid-19 funds utilization despite the breakdown given by the Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta in the House.

This was after the Minority expressed dissatisfaction with the accountability provided by the Finance Minister.

Mr Bagbin said after the debate on the Finance Minister’s presentation that “The directive is for the Committee on Finance, supported by the Committee on Health to investigate and inquire further into the application and utilization of all revenues received, referred to as Covid-19 fund and to report to the House.

By Samuel Afriyie Owusu|3news.com|Ghana

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