Health Ministry lauded for submitting financial report to AG but…

Mr Albert Kan–Dapaah, Chairman of the Public Account Committee (PAC), has extolled the Ministry of Health (MOH) for being the only ministry to have submitted its 2007 financial report to the Auditor General.

According to the Auditor General report apart from the MOH all other ministries failed to produce their financial reports necessary for audit investigations.

Mr Kan-Dapaah said this on Thursday when the MOH appeared before the Committee to be quizzed on the Auditor General’s report about how they spent monies allocated to it.

The MOH team was headed by the Health Minister Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Dr Sylvester Anemana, Acting Chief Director of MOH, and Dr Elias Kavinah Sory, Director General of the Ghana Health Service.

The team also included doctors heading specific units at various hospitals across the country, hospital administrators and accountants of district and regional hospitals.

He also commended them for responding to all the queries and bringing together all the regional and district account officers, who also answered specific questions posed by members of the Committee.

However, the PAC chided the MOH for lack of transparent financial administration, which caused huge losses to the state.

Frauds such as embezzlement of huge sums of revenues, misappropriation of funds, alteration of figures on cheques, inefficient measures towards loan recovery, equipment lying idle, unrecovered salary advance, lack of proper record keeping and host of many weaknesses were identified.

The report indicated for instance at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital unearned salaries within the period amounted to GH¢16,137.00, at the Nkwanta District Hospital it was GH¢4,343.00, at the Ankafo Leprosarium/General Hospital, GH¢6,862.00 while cash withdrawal without appropriate vouchers at the Achiase Health Centre amounted to GH¢13,257.00.

At the MOH headquarters, ineffective measures towards loan recovery amounted to GH¢886,333.00, revenue embezzlement amounted to GH¢107,383.00 and payment vouchers not presented for audit amounted to GH ¢10,562.00, were identified.

At the Ridge Hospital, payment of VAT on exempted items amounted to GH¢13,846.00 while the Central Mechanical Shop Tema, was indebted to the tune of GH¢600,048.00, burglaries at the workshop cost GH¢2,393.00, theatre equipment lying idle GH¢13,000.00 and un-utilized electricity generator GH¢5,620.00.

The report was replete of many other malfeasances.

Responding to retrieval of monies used to buy cars for some doctors, Dr Sylvester Anemana said retrieving the monies from these doctors became a problem because allocations were made close to their retiring age.

He said the salaries of the doctors at time were very low and that the Ministry was unable to make deductions from their salaries.

He noted that some of the people involved were very old experienced doctors, who served the country faithfully and that it would be very difficult for the MOH to take action against them.

He called on the PAC to guide them as how they would be able to retrieve the money from those retired doctors.

Dr Sory assured the Committee that they would ensure that these anomalies reduced to the minimum, adding that financial administration was better than what they came to meet.

Source: GNA

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