The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday expressed shock when officials of the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) said the Authority is writing-off their debtors instead of retrieving monies due the body.
Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, Chairman of the Committee and his colleagues did not understand why GPHA allowed their debtors to go free and questioned: “Are you father Christmas?”
Officials of GPHA appeared before the PAC to answer queries raised in the Auditor General’s report for 2010 and 2011.
The report revealed that GH¢289.960.40 owed by 10 companies for four to eight years is yet to be paid while GH¢37, 636.94 owed by retired and deceased staff which was given to them as loans had not been recovered.
Mr Chris Amedor, Chief Accountant of GPHA, said there was a debt recovery timeline of 30 days and after the stipulated time companies owing the Authority and could not pay were cut off from their customers list.
The GPHA also stop transacting business with them.
He said the Takoradi Port owed GPHA more than GH¢1.37 million.
Mr Sefa Yankey, Deputy Attorney General, said the Minister of Finance, subject to Parliamentary approval, could recommend the deletion of debt from the public account but not the GPHA Board.
Mr Manu said the Financial Regulation Act did mandate the GPHA to write-off their debtors.
Mrs Dzifa Ativor, Minister of Transport, said very soon charges at the Port would come down adding that the Ministry would engage other ministries to make the ports very attractive.