Parliament approves budget for Youth and Sports, Minority cries foul
Parliament on Tuesday approved an amount of GH¢53,872,871.00 for the Ministry of Youth and Sports as its budget for 2013 with the Minority voicing disapproval over the ministry overshooting its budget allocation by a whooping GH¢187 million last year.
Mr Isaac Asiamah, the Minority spokesperson on Youth and Sports argued that there was no justification for Parliament to approve the 2013 budget of the ministry when that public institution cannot furnish the House with proper documentation on how it spent GH¢240 million instead of the GH¢54 million that was allotted to the ministry.
“Mr Speaker, this is highly unacceptable. This is total financial indiscipline that should not be condoned by this House”, he said when contributing to the debate on the budget estimates of the ministry
Mr Asiamah told the House that even when the Committee on Youth and Sports asked the ministry to produce documentation covering the expenditure of the amount, “not a single document has been produced” and asked, “Where did the money go? And who has spent it and under what circumstance?
“I demand that the details are provided before this House goes ahead to approve the budget estimates for the ministry.
“I think as a House we need to be more concerned about how the poor tax payers money is spent…This is serious”, he said, calling for strict regimes on the expenditure pattern of the ministry.
Mr Asiamah cited a report on the recent Maputo All African Games, which incriminated some officials of the National Sports Authority, which is under the ministry, for embezzlement.
At that point, the Speaker, Mr Edward Doe Adjaho asked Mr Asiamah to furnish the House with the copy of the said report when the Majority objected to the line of argument of the member.
Mr Asiamah then tabled a copy of the report of the Auditor-Generals Committee of Inquiry into the August 2011 All Africa Games to the House for the Speaker’s perusal.
When the Speaker digested the contents of the report, he remarked, “Hon. Members, a Member on the floor made reference to a report. I asked for a copy of the said report to determine which direction he should go. He made a copy of the report available to me and I can tell you that the report is damning.”
He urged that the issue be given the utmost importance and that steps be taken to prosecute all those cited in the Auditor-General’s Report of Inquiry for embezzling the tax payer’s money, adding, “Corruption is corruption and it must be fought.”
However, the MP for Chiana/Paga, Mr Abuga Pele, when contributing to the debate explained that the ministry overspent its budget for 2012 because beneficiaries of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) had to be paid.
He called for a financial plan for the National Youth Employment Programme so that its employees would not be paid outside the budgetary allocation, for the ministry to be accused of over spending.
The Youth and Sports Minister, Mr Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah agreed that the ministry was aware of the report of Ghana’s participation in the Maputo All African Games and that officials linked to the scandal had been given up to the end of the month to respond to the inquiry.
The report of the committee picked up by the GNA indicted the National Sports Authority for breach of procurement rules and corruption in the award of contracts connected to the All Africa Games.