We give credence to Auditor-General’s Report on public funds utilisation – Okudzeto
Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, says credence is accorded the Auditor-General’s Report when it comes to the utilisation of public funds.
He has, therefore, expressed disappointment at how the President said: “Nothing dishonourable was done with the COVID-19 funds.”
President Akufo-Addo, in his presentation of the State of the Nations Address (SONA) to Parliament on Wednesday, said the government did not do anything dishonourable to the COVID-19 Funds.
He said: “Mr Speaker, it was the government that asked for the COVID funds to be audited, and I can assure this House that nothing dishonourable was done with the COVID funds.”
“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 gains.”
However, reacting to the President’s statement in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Parliament, Mr Ablakwa said what other report could be more credible than the Auditor General’s when it came to auditing public funds utilisation.
He said there was no better institution to tell the misappropriation of public funds than the Auditor General.
Per violations cited in the Auditor General’s report, 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 criticisms following public dissatisfaction by stating that the funds spent on direct COVID-19 interventions and general budget support were in accordance with the mandate approved by Parliament and that of the Public Financial Management Act.
“The responses from both Ministers for Health and Finance, on January 23 and 25, 2023, respectively, have sufficiently laid to rest the queries from the Auditor-General’s report, and I believe any objective scrutiny of these statements from the Health and Finance Ministries would justify this conclusion,” President Akufo-Addo said on the floor of Parliament.
SONA is delivered 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.