The Axim Annual Kundum Planning and Organizing Committee has has said that they have no knowledge of the Auditor General’s report on the GHS 200,000 expenditure on Kundum festival celebrations.
The committee said in a statement that their attention has been drawn to publications regarding the Auditor General’s indictment of former Tourism and Creative Arts Minister Hon. Catherine Afeku, who once doubled as the Member of Parliament for Evalue Ajomoro Gwira Constituency of the Western Region, in relation to the Gh 200,000 meant for Kundum Festival celebration.
The Auditor-General’s report for the period ended 31 December 2020, stated that an amount of GH¢387,196.00 meant for the Marine Drive project was misapplied.
“In contravention of Section 7 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), we noted that funds meant for the Marine Drive project amounting to GH¢387,196.00 were misapplied for the celebration of AFRIMA, Kundum Festival, and other activities,” it states.
An amount of GH¢73,000.00 was paid as additional expenditure or for the Minister’s trip to the Volta Region from 15th to 18th June 2018.
On 7th March 2018, GH¢13,296.00 was paid as an accountable imprest for the Minister at the time, Catherine Afeku, to travel to the Wester Region on official assignment.
There was also a payment of an allowance for the opening panel for procurement of vehicle on 3rd May 2018 at the cost of GH¢ 900.00.
The audit report also mentions the release of GH¢100,000.00 to Palm Media Ghana Ltd. for the launch of AFRIMA 2018 on 17th-19th May 2018, and 200,000 for the release of funds to support Kundum Festival from 1st – 9th September 2018.
It has, therefore, recommended that the Chief Director ensures a refund from the operations account into the Marine Drive project account, failing which the amount should be recovered from the Chief Director.
Also, the report noted that some officials, including Catherine Afeku failed to hand over official vehicles of the Ministry when they left the ministry.
“In contravention of Section 52 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), we noted from our inspection of the Ministry’s vehicles that five official vehicles were in the possession of three former officials who separated from the Ministry through reassignment and terminations.
But the planning committee said “During the 2018 Kundum Festival Celebration, the Tourism and Creative Arts Ministry officially and solely donated GH 7000 to the Planning Committee to be distributed to Axim’s two traditional leaders (Upper and Lower).
“In 2019, an amount of GH 5000 was received from Madam Catherine Afeku’s office as then Member of Parliament for our constituency to aid the successful organization.
“It should also be noted that no funds were received from either the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts or Hon Catherine Afeku’s office to assist with the aftermath of any of our Kundum Festival projects, including the Theatre Project.
“The Committee therefore cautions the public and sympathizers of the two political parties in the Evalue Ajomoro Gwira Constituency not to bring the Planning and Organising Committee and any of its members, as well as the traditional leadership of Axim, into disrepute and public ridicule over the pending financial irregularities cited by the Auditor General regarding monies meant for Kundum Festival Celebration.
“We urge all media outlets that are making negative comments and writing articles about the Planning Committee to stop and instead direct their attention to the Office of then Member of Parliament and former Tourism and Creative Arts Minister Hon Catherine Afeku for further clarification about the amount cited by the Auditor General.”