Financial malfeasance at Ministry of Finance – Public Accounts Committee reveals

Startling revelations of financial impropriety were made public on Monday August 15, 2011 against some officials of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning at the resumed public sitting of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

The committee’s sitting, expected to last five days, will consider reports of the Auditor-General (AG) on the accounts of Ghana for 2007, 2008 and 2009.

The AG reports cover the ministries of Finance and Economic Planning, Employment and Social Welfare, Lands and Natural resources, Information, Defence, Chieftaincy and Culture, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Food and Agriculture, Energy, Communications, Tourism, Transport, Women and Children, Roads and Highways and Government Machinery.

The audit report indicated that during the audit of the treasury accounts of the Finance Ministry, a schedule officer at the treasury, Mr Francis Aryeetey, failed to produce payment voucher covering GH¢351,900.

The report said auditors were informed that Mr Aryeetey allegedly effected the payment using falsified documents aimed at misappropriating the amount from the MOFEP Contingency Account Funds.

Even though the matter is now pending before an Accra Fast Track High Court, members of the committee expressed worry about why the case had not been decided since 2006 when the incident occurred.

Another case of inappropriate payment of allowances to staff of the MOFEP amounting to GH¢913,901.30 was also discussed at the sitting.

The audit report revealed tha the ministry, between January 2006 and August 2009, paid monthly top-up allowances to staff of ministers and the Chief Director’s Secretariat, as well as the Budget and Economic Management Capacity Building (EMCB) Divisions.

Even though the auditors recommended that the continuous payment of the allowances should cease with effect from September 2009, while the matter was referred to the Head of the Civil Service for further directives, it was not done until March 2011.

The management response was that a policy guideline dubbed Skills Retention Premium was developed and approval sought from the Office of the Head of the Civil Service but the Civil Service Council declined and rather requested the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission to develop the modalities for the payment of such amounts.

Some members of the committee, particularly the MP for Akrofrom, Mr Kwabena Appiah-Pinkrah, and MP for Atwima-Mponua, Mr Isaac Kwame Asiamah expressed concern about the payment of such monies, which, according to them, were effected in dollars and were far more than the actual salaries of the beneficiaries simply because they were employees of MOFEP.

They argued that since “what is good for the goose is also good for the gander”, officials from other institutions should also benefit from such packages in 2008.

A case of sponsorship of GH¢18,258 offered in 2008 to an ex-employee of MOFEP, Mrs Effie Buedwua Simpson, to pursue a course at GIMPA which was not covered by any bond was also heard by the committee.

Even though she was granted a study leave with pay, she was not bonded as required by Civil Service regulations.

According to the report, six months after she started the GIMPA programme, Mrs Simpson applied to the ministry to be permitted to retire voluntarily from the Civil Service with effect from March 1, 2009 with the justification that she attained the age of 55 on December 13, 2008.

The auditors held the view that the ministry’s failure to enforce its existing bond policy could result in financial loss to the state following the officer’s decision to voluntarily retire from the Civil Service few months after the amount had been paid to GIMPA.

But the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Seth Terkpeh, explained that another official had been nominated to benefit from the amount paid to GIMPA.

Departments under the ministry which also appeared before the committee included the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Controller and Accountant general’s Department.

Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the PAC, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, commended the Auditor-General’s Department for working hard to audit the accounts of the ministries up to 2009.

Source: Daily Graphic

1 Comment
  1. Etaloid says

    Civil servants are more corrupt than politicians. if corruption is alleviated from the civil service then we can reach our fullest potential growth wise, until that happens we will continue to remain the backward people we are. Shame on u mofep

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