The Akufo-Addo administration has come under fire from the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) for allegedly misusing money intended for the nation’s fight against the Covid-19 outbreak.
Following the Auditor-recent General’s report on a Special Audit of the Government of Ghana’s Covid-19 expenditures for the period of March 2020 to June 2022, a number of claims, including this one, have been made.
The Party’s National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi, spoke in a news conference on Wednesday, February 1, 2023 as part of the “Moment of Truth” series and listed fifteen “shocking revelations” from the Auditor-General’s report.
After the Auditor-General revealed that vaccines valued at only $38,322,000 were supplied to the National Cold Storage, meaning $81.8 million worth of vaccines are yet to be delivered, the party demanded the resignation of the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, for irregularities in the purchase of vaccines worth $120,192,379.80 from UNICEF/AVAT.
The party also criticized the usage of GHC10.3 million to pay for 10,000 frontline health workers’ special life insurance coverage without providing proof of a document proving the existence of a life insurance policy or a list of beneficiaries.
At the height of the epidemic, many questioned why some frontline health workers had died as a result of the hazards they faced.
In a following speech, President Akufo-Addo said that the government will offer life insurance coverage to all front-line healthcare providers.
The NDC, however, argues that given the lack of a policy document and list of beneficiaries, the arrangement that resulted in the acquisition of 30% life insurance cover from Enterprise Insurance was irregular and, as a result, smells of some shady trading.
While commenting on the finding of the report on invoices received from various suppliers for the supply of food to the National Food Buffer Stock Company, the party cited the Chief Executive Officer of the National Food Buffer Stock Company for what it calls, over-invoicing of way bills, thereby occasioning a loss of GHS1,406,085.00. The party is therefore calling for the refund of the said funds into the state’s coffers.
Describing the Akufo-Addo government as a “monument of waste and corruption”, Mr. Gyamfi lamented how a contractor working on a holding, treatment and isolation center at Nalerigu in the North East Region received advanced payments amounting to US$4.5 million, and subsequently abandoned work on the $15 million facility.
Bemoaning the absence of a performance bond or insurance guarantee at the time of awarding the contract, the NDC argues this has occasioned huge financial loss to the state.
As part of demands for a series of actions on the report, the party called on the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to compel the Auditor-General to exercise his power of surcharge and disallowance to “retrieve all COVID-19 funds that have been misapplied or misused through various infractions and veritable acts of criminality”.
The NDC called on President Akufo-Addo to immediately fire the Finance Minister, Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, CEO of the National Food Buffer Stock Company, and other officials who have been cited for what the party claims are violations of national laws relating to their handling of Covid-19 funds. The NDC cited the Malawian example, where a Minister of State and nineteen (19) other officials were dismissed for their mishandling of Covid-19 funds.