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Audit report finds 742 students fail to return Free SHS core textbooks

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Some 742 students who completed in the 2019/2020 academic year in four institutions failed to return a total of 2,594 core subject textbooks to their schools, the 2020 Auditor-General Report has revealed.

The Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana- Pre-University Educational Institutions for the year ended December 31, 2020, available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema showed that the core subject textbooks were valued at a total cost of GH¢77, 820.00.

This was in contravention of Section 52 of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016 (Act 921).

The PFM Act requires a Principal Spending Officer of a covered entity, state owned enterprise or public cooperation responsible for the assets of the institution under the care of the Principal Spending Officer to ensure that proper control systems exist for custody and management of the assets.

The institutions cited were; Ashaiman SHS with 237 students and 718 unreturned textbooks costing GH¢21,540.00; Teshie Technical Training Centre, with 177 and 578 unreturned textbooks valued at GH¢17,340.00.

The rest are; West Africa Senior High School which had 167 students default, and 610 textbooks unreturned valued at GH¢18, 300.00, while 161 students of the Achimota Senior High School failed to return 688 textbooks totaling GH¢20, 640.00.

The report said, the situation could deny other students the use of the books and could constitute financial loss to the schools and the state.

The Auditor-General, therefore, recommended to management of the institutions to notify the parents of the affected students to return the books, or in default, pay their value as directed by the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service.

The report also stated that the Headmaster and the storekeeper should be held liable for the amount if they failed to recover the books from the students.

According to the Auditor-General, the irregularities identified in the 2020 report, resulted, generally from the lack of commitment on the part of the Head of the Institutions to ensure compliance with established internal controls and regulations governing the management of financial resources.

Source: GNA

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