In Retrospect: Public Accounts Committee Sitting In Ashanti

The rots, disappointment and surprises that was uncovered at the sitting for metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies in the middle belt.

From Monday, 20, to Friday, 24, October 2014, I take you through the highlights of what transpired at Royal Lamerta Hotel in Kumasi.

Millions of Ghana Cedis spent without Pre-Audit Approval.

District assemblies in Ashanti region were cited for sidestepping requisite pre-audit approvals to spend over 1million Ghana Cedis.

This was revealed after parliament’s public accounts committee week-long sitting in the region.

Out of the over thirty Metropolitan Municipal and District assemblies that appeared before the committee, 70 percent were identified for the trend.

These MMDCEs incurred huge expenses without payment vouchers and relevant supported documents.

MP for Kpong, John Loh tells Luv BIZ finance officers blatantly ignored financial procedures to open avenues to misappropriate local assembly funds.

Attempted explanation by leaders of the assemblies could not get down well with committee members.

Vice chairman of the committee, Atta Kyia was compelled to read the sanction regimes for breaching the financial management Act.

Huge fuel purchases without appropriate records
Parliament’s public accounts committee on Tuesday identified assemblies ignoring accounting practices in recording fuel purchases.

At the sitting that day, most metropolitan municipal and district assemblies struggled to explain why they couldn’t account for fuel used between 2010 and 2012.

Adansi North district assembly for instance couldn’t account for an amount of thirty-five thousand Ghana Cedis for fuel during the period.

The committee was convinced weak internal monitoring mechanisms justifies the recurring irregularity among district assemblies.

Attempted explanations given by some of the assembly financial officials were interesting;

Committee; How come the assembly spent such a huge amount on fuel but nothing shows in the audit reports. Why?

MMDCE; The ‘Chair’, we didn’t record most of them because instances like the driver going to buy food, we cannot input that.

Chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyemang Manu believes these actions gives room to suspect a possible fuel siphoning.

Kwaku Agyemang Manu suggests assemblies strengthen the use of vehicle log-books.

He believes this will assist financial officials to be accountable.

Possible dismissal for abandoning on-going projects for new ones

Metropolitan municipal and district chief executives were warned they could face possible dismissal if on-going projects are abandoned to start new ones.

This became necessary after parliament’s public accounts committee identified huge sums of monies due to in-actions of top public officials.

The committee identified most of the assemblies deliberately stop funding on-going projects and re-award new ones for selfish interests.

About thousands of Ghana Cedis have had to be paid to contractors in the form of variations as a result of abandoned projects.

District assembly common fund and internally generated funds end up being tempered to pay such monies incurred.

At the sitting on Wednesday, members of the committee considered recommending a possible dismissal of officials who are found culpable.

They are also considering making the continuation of on-going projects form part of MMDCEs performance assessments.

Member of the committee, Robert Sarfo Mensah expressed his disgust at the practice to LUV NEWS.

Surcharge Public Officials for Payment Irregularities

On Thursday, the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee indicated it will henceforth recommend persons cited for financial irregularities to refund money they are unable to account for.

Payment without supporting documents is among recurring malfeasance at Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies.

Audited accounts for 2012 reveal over 48 million Ghana Cedis cannot be accounted for nationwide.

At the committee’ sitting that day, members observed mismanagement of financial resources at the assemblies continues to plague the nation.

Chairman, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, says there is a deliberate lack of commitment and refusal by officials to comply with PAC’s recommendations.

He warns the next step by committee is to recommend offending officials are surcharged to serve as deterrent.

And Kumasi Mayor angered PAC…
On the final day, Kumasi Mayor, Kojo Bonsu, failed to appear before the Public Accounts Committee of parliament to the displeasure of committee members.

He was among Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Chief Executives who were billed to appear before the committee on the last day of its sitting in Kumasi.

KMA Presiding Member, Nana Kofi Senya, informed the committee Mr. Bonsu had taken his annual vacation, though the committee had served him notice to appear.

The disappointed parliamentarians expressed disgust at the Kumasi Mayor’s conduct, describing it as ‘disrespectful’.

MP for Atwima-Nwabiagya North, Benito Owusu Bio led his fellow committee members to vent their fury on the officials of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly.

An Assembly member who was at the sitting also expressed shock at the Mayor’s absence.

“He has disgraced the assembly for not appearing. The mayor has been displaying this attitude of disrespect to the assembly and we’ve been complaining about it,” he said.

Chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, deferred scrutiny of Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly’s account till the Mayor resumes work.

The committee sat for a week examining audited accounts of assemblies in the Ashanti and Brong Ahafo Regions for the period 2010-2012.

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