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We will do everything possible to recover state money – ISD Director assures PAC

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The Information Services Department (ISD) will do everything legally possible to recover GH¢23,280.00 that six staff took as “I owe you” but failed to pay back.

Mr David Owusu-Amoah, Acting Director of ISD, gave the assurance when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament to respond to issues that were raised against the Department in the 2018 Auditor-General’s Report.

The Report cited the Ministry of Information of an unaccounted amount of GH¢23,280.00, which was given to six officers of the ISD between July 2016 and November 2017.

According to Regulation 111 of the Financial Administration Regulation 204, the Head of Department, who is the administering authority in any course of advances, shall keep account at the Departmental Headquarters that shows all advances and recoveries made.

Mr Owusu-Amoah in his response noted that when the matter came up, they wrote to the six people as captured in the Auditor-General’s Report, of which two replied and denied taking such amounts.

He said the then Director of the ISD, Madam Afua Essel, as at the time the Department was sending its response to the PAC, had not replied to their letter.

He said there was a name indicated in the Report only as Amoah, so there was no different information as to who the Amoah was; adding that there was also one other person, Ebenezer Asare, whom they wrote to but they did not receive any reply from him. Apparently, he had travelled outside the country.

He said there was one other person that was the then Accountant of the ISD, William Sabbah, who unfortunately passed away at the time the investigation was being carried out.

Mr Owusu-Amoah said the Management of the IDS, which took over from the then Management, took the initiative to freeze the account of the former Accountant, who unfortunately passed on.

“In addition, we wanted further information because as new Management who had taken over from the then Management, we didn’t have much information, so we wrote to the Auditors asking for further explanation, further background as to how they were able to arrive at that. So, Mr Chairman, this is how far we have come with this,” he said.

Mr Kennedy Osei Nyarko, a Member of the PAC, asked Mr Owusu-Amoah: “Are you saying that this amount that was given to six people, you did not have any detailed records as to who took what and at what time? Because from your response you stated clearly that others even denied taking such amounts. Is that correct?”

Mr Owusu-Amoah: “Yes, Mr Chairman.”

Mr Osei Nyarko: “And with those two that denied that their names were captured in the Auditor-General’s report, did the one in-charge, who you said he is no more, did he confirm? Was there any confirmation that such amounts were not given to those two people and that it was wrongly captured in the report.”

Mr Owusu-Amoah: “He has passed on, as at now the current Management perused all records to that effect but since he is dead, the only option was to freeze his (bank) accounts. Thus, how far we have taken action on this.”

That, Mr Owusu-Amoah said, was to ensure that if there was any money in his account, it would be used to defray the cost mentioned because he was not around to defend himself, then also that was the only option available if indeed, he had taken any “I owe you” like that.

He said after refreezing the accounts, they did not receive any official communication from the Bank, but a verbal communication indicating that the man did not have any money in his account, and that he was even owing the bank.

He said the ISD was still pursuing the matter by their best thinking through to see how they could get to the bottom of the situation.

He said evidence from the external auditors would really help the ISD to be able to get to the bottom of the matter for every legal means possible be to be employed to recover the money for the State.

In attendance at the Committee’s sitting was Mr Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, Mrs Mamle Andrews, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Information and Mr Frank Siaw-Otu, Deputy Information Officer in-charge of Finance and Administration at ISD.

Source: GNA

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