Set up committee to investigate Ghc17bn irregularities in PAC report – Majority Leader to Parliament

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A committee to further work on recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) after it presents its reports to the House has been called for by Majority Leader Hon. Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, due to approximately GHc 17,483,483,539.25 worth of irregularities that occurred in the management of 19 state institutions for the period ended December 31, 2021.

Although the Public Accounts Committee is required by law to look into the Auditor General’s reports and report its findings to the House, he believed that the Constitution also required the House to form a committee to work with the Attorney General’s Office to ensure that the Committee’s recommendations are followed and funds are returned to the state.

“We must constitute the Committee before the House rises” he stated.

This was stated by the Majority Leader, who also serves as the Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, during his remarks on Monday during the Public Accounts Committee’s adoption of the Auditor General’s reports on Ghana’s public accounts (public boards, corporations, and other statutory institutions) for the year 2021 on the House floor.

According to Article 187(6) of the Constitution, “Parliament shall debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint where necessary, in the public interest, a Committee to deal with any matter arising from it,” the Majority Leader used the document to support his argument.

The report of the Public Accounts Committee further revealed that, the total irregularities increased from GHc 12,856,172,626 in the year 2020 to GHc 17,483,483,539.25 in 2021, representing an increase of 36.0% from the 2020 irregularities uncovered.

The report classified the irregularities under eight (different headings namely, Outstanding Debtors/Loans Receivable (58.98%), Dues from Customers for power sales (COVID -M19 & Others) (34.56%), Cash (2.89%), Payroll (0.05%), Procurement (1.75%), Tax (0.13) and Contract irregularities (1.62%).

The 19 state institutions and agencies that were cited for causing these irregularities were under the Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Food and Agriculture, Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General, Ministry of Communication and Digitization, Ministry of Tourism, Creative Arts and Culture, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

The rest were the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Information, Ministry of Works and Housing, and Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources.

Commenting on the status of the 2021 irregularities, the Committee’s report stated that some institutions had implemented the recommendations of the Auditor-General with respect to the infractions identified in their operations, however, a significant proportion of the irregularities remain unresolved.

It added that, out of the total value of GHc 17,482,944,569.85 of the irregularities recorded in the report, GHc 3,409,072,840.10 representing 19.5% had been resolved leaving an amount of GHc 14, 073,871,729.75 representing 80.5% unresolved.

The report of the Committee was moved and presented by the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. James Klutse-Avedzi, and seconded by Hon. Isaac Yaw Opoku, a member of the Committee.

Source: Ghanatodayonline.com

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