PAC refers two Colleges of Education to Attorney-General over procurement breaches
The Public Account Committee, (PAC) sitting in the Western Region has referred two Colleges of Education to the Attorney-General’s Office to answer questions on procurement breaches in their institution’s award of contract.
They are the Sefwi-Wiawso College of Education in the Western North Region and the OLA College of Education in the Central Region.
Other offences established against Komenda College of Education, the Holy Child College of Education, Cape Coast Technical University and Takoradi Technical University included rent arrears, unearned salary, IT system and school fee recordings, withholding taxes, study leave without the appropriate bond, salary advances among others as stated in the Audit report of 2010.
Though some of the above infractions have been given attention, there were still outstanding concerns to be addressed.
Mr. James Avedzi, the Chairman of the Committee at a Three Regional engagement encouraged some to improve management practices and admonished officers who retired from public institutions without leaving proper documentation of events and records to desist from the act.
He said, “If you want a peaceful retirement, then make sure you leave a clean legacy…make sure everything works perfectly…we will come after you even in retirement”.
Mr. Avedzi then asked the institutions to follow up on such retiring officers and report back in one month. Meanwhile, a similar deadline was given to ensure that things were rectified and reported back to the auditors.
In the meantime, the Sefwi Wiawso College of Education, led by Dr. Emmanuel Carsemer, was cited by Auditor -General report for abrogating the contracts of Sarfo Trading valued at GHC171,584, for the supply of food items without justification and re-awarding it to B Venture for GHC185,185.
This resulted in an increase in contract price under a contravention of section 7 of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, Act 921.
“We recommend that Dr. Emmanuel Carsemer, should refund the amount of GH¢13,601 to the college”, the Auditor- General report on pre-university educational institutions for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2019, recommended.
It again noted that, Sefwi Wiawso College of Education awarded contracts worth GH¢269,778.99 to B Bert Ventures for the supply of goods and services in contravention of Section 40 of the Procurement Act as amended, and again recommended that Dr Carsemer should be sanctioned in accordance with section 92 of the Procurement Act 2003.
The AG’s report also stated that management of Sefwi Wiawso College of Education failed to collect rent of GH¢10,897 due from 24 officers occupying the college’s bungalows with some having defaulted up to 120 months (about 10 years), violating Regulations 46 of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 L1 2378.
“We recommend that management should adopt measures including deductions from their salaries and allowances to recover the arrears.” the report added.
It continued “We note that Sefwi Wiawso College of Education made unsubstantiated payments with a total face value of GH¢61,438.35 contrary to Regulation 78 of the PFMA Act 2019, LI 2378. We recommend that the head of the institution should refund the amount to the school’s account.”
Commenting on the report on procurement, the Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi, Yusif Sulemana said, Dr. Carsemer breached the Act stressing “that’s what the auditors are saying, but it seems we have not taken this seriously.”
On the supply of food items, he argued that “Whether in writing or not, there is a contract. You had a kind of relationship with Sarfo Trading and so there was a contract. You have questions to answer. Do not ask us questions. The contract allowed you to proceed with the processes and you breach that, so the auditors are right.”
Mr. Avedzi said Dr. Carsemer and his team should have allowed Sarfo Trading to supply the food items since they quoted a lower price, but they decided to select B ventures.
“You should be sanctioned and so you need to refund that amount because you breached the procurement Act,” he also concluded.
Mr Avedzi expressed his disappointment about the attitude of 46 staff of Komenda College of Education not paying rent for 13 months totaling GH¢20,027, and asked whether they could afford the luxury of staying in town.
He, therefore, told the management to recover the said amount.
There were also 16 Pay Vouchers covering nine staff of the college amounting to GH¢100,299.50 representing imprest which were not retired, PAC Chairman quoted the AG’s report
He said that “the cause of the anomaly was attributed to poor supervision by management and the inability of the accountant in ensuring that imprest was retired as required.”
Mr Avedzi again said “Three staff of the Komenda College of Education defaulted in repayment of salary advances of GH¢10, 881.”