Nothing dishonourable was done with COVID-19 funds – Akufo-Addo
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Wednesday said the government did not do anything dishonourable with the COVID-19 pandemic funds.
He explained that the funds were used to fight the corona virus disease and allegations that it was misused were false and a figment of one’s imagination.
President Akufo-Addo said this when he presented the 2023 State of the Nations Address to Parliament in Accra.
This was in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, which states that the President shall deliver a message on the SONA to Parliament at the start of each session and before the dissolution of Parliament.
He said: “The economic consequences of the pandemic have been devastating. It is precise because the economic fallout from the pandemic was so widespread and long-lasting that it is important to show clearly that the COVID funds were not misused.”
“We mustn’t lose the confidence of the people that a crisis that they were led to believe we were all in together was abused for personal gain.”
“Mr Speaker, it was Government that asked for the COVID funds to be audited, and I can assure this House that nothing dishonourable was done with it.”
Per violations cited in the audit report by the Auditor-General, the Information Ministry improperly compensated its employees GH¢151,500 for COVID-19 insurance while failing to deliver $81 million worth of government-paid vaccines.
The state, among other things, was also cited to have spent $607,419.02 out of $4,049,460.12 for the acquisition of 26 ambulances, but the vehicles were never delivered.
The government, through the Ministry of Finance, responded to the criticisms stating that the funds were spent on direct COVID-19 interventions and general budget support.
These were in accordance with the mandate approved by Parliament and that of the Public Financial Management Act.
“The responses from both Ministers of Health and Finance, on January 23 and 25, 2023, respectively, have sufficiently laid to rest the queries from the Auditor-General’s report,” he said.
“I believe any objective scrutiny of these statements from the Health and Finance Ministries would justify this conclusion.”
SONA is a constitutional obligation and yearly tradition, wherein the Commander-In-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces reports on the status of the country, unveils the Government’s agenda for the coming year, and proposes to Parliament certain legislative measures.
To that end, Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana imposes an obligation on Members of Parliament, the Speaker, and the Judiciary to receive the President’s SONA.