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Public Accounts Committee says assemblies are not exercising control

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Mr. Kan Dapaah

Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah, Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, has expressed regret that chairmen of Finance and Administration committees of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) were not exercising full responsibility over the tasks the government had given them.

He said this in Bolgatanga when the committee started its hearing on MMDAs for the three northern regions.

The sitting was to consider report of the Auditor General’s (AG) Accounts of the MMDAs for the three financial years ending 2007.

Mr. Dapaah said inspection of accounts that chairmen of the Finance and Administration Committees should have oversight responsibility was not being done.

This, he said, was to ensure that the finance department of the assemblies did good jobs and ensure that revenue collection to the various assemblies were apt. He therefore called for closer collaboration and effective teamwork within the Assemblies.

The committee also identified that the MMDAs had weak internal control systems that made officers spend without going through due processes.

He said chairmen who shirked their responsibility to sanction officers should be held responsible and equally sanctioned to serve as deterrent to potential offenders.

The committee said the Sabzugu Tatale District Assembly in 2011 made payments of 7,263 Ghana cedis to beneficiaries of its poverty alleviation component without any authorization and for which no action was taken against the account officers.

He said even though some projects in the area were completed and handed over to the Assembly valued at GH¢29,233 and paid to the contractors who executed the job, there was no authorizing officer to that effect and said such practice bridged the financial regulations of the country.

When it came to the turn of the Karaga District, the committee noted that value books could not be accounted for.

Mr. Fuseini Alhassan Asuma, District Chief Executive of the Gushegu District, had to respond to a GH¢62,671.29 the District Assembly made without authorization and supporting payment vouchers.

Mr. Mohammed Seidu Issah Adam, DCE for Saboba Chereponi District, responded to two audit queries on valuations carried out on road spot improvements without contingency and due permission and purchases for food relief.

In response, the District Coordinating Director said the culverts and spot improvements were done in view of the heavy rains. He added that even though the Feeder Roads Engineer was currently on transfer, he carried out inventory of the road before leaving.

Alhaji Abdulai Haruna Friday, MCE Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, responding to audit queries on failure to recover GH¢5,520 disbursed, said the money in question was an outstanding loan taken from the coffers of the Poverty alleviation fund and approved by the Member of Parliament for the area to a non-governmental organization (NGO).

He explained that the money could not be recovered because the leaders of the NGO could not be traced neither did the NGO exist.

Another 1,300 Ghana Cedis disbursed to a disabled group and farmer associations in the metropolis for farming purposes have not been recovered.

Responding to queries on how the money was disbursed and why the assembly could not make the follow up, Alhaji English said a bank did the administration of the loans but could not tell which Bank.

The Committee questioned him about an unsubstantiated amount of 69,574 payments made by the TMA. Here, Alhaji English explained that the expenditure included night allowances and fuel purchases.

Alhaji English also failed to deduct 4,686 to Internal Revenue Service as tax withholding from some suppliers and action had not been taken on officers responsible for such duties.

Source: GNA

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