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2018 Auditor general’s report exposes grand corruption: EC,GBC,UG,NCA others fingered

An Auditor General’s report carried out last year and presented to parliament has exposed grand corruption and misappropriation of funds by some selected state institutions.

The report which comes in two parts cited the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, University of Ghana, the Electoral Commission, National Communications Authority, Chartered Institute of Taxation and the Ghana Export Promotion Authority for varying degrees of corruption.

The Auditor General, Mr Daniel Domelovo has petitioned the Speaker of Parliament for onward scrutiny of the institutions fingered.

GHANA BROADCASTING CORPORATION

According to the report, GBC under-stated its revenue realised for the 2014 world cup by GH¢3,464,878.59.

It also stated that further review of the contract agreement signed between the Ghana Television Consortium and Optimum Media Prime Limited showed that two major financial clauses were amended without approval by the Consortium.

This is believed to have been skewed towards making dubious deals.

The AG also noted with concern that ‘due to management’s noncompliance with financial regulations that govern the opening of bank accounts, an amount of GH¢91,300 out of cash received for the 2014 World Cup, was deposited into an unknown bank account at Zenith Bank.

Funds that were supposed to have been deposited into the consolidated funds also exchanged hands among management members of the corporation.

The report read in part, ‘Contrary to Regulation 15(1) and (3) of the Financial Administration Regulation 2004, the Corporation did not remit TV License fees collected from 1993 to 2017 totalling GH¢3,637,754.20 into the Consolidated Fund.’

The Auditor General has recommended management to pay the GH¢3,637,754.20 into the Consolidated Fund with immediate effect and also update its records.

An invoice issued to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) in respect of co-location was under-invoiced by GH¢93,203.53. We advised Management to recover the difference of GH¢93,203.53 from the BBC.

CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION

The chartered institute of taxation, the second to have been audited was reported that imprest amounts of US$5,900.00 and GH¢12,900.00 granted to five council members to attend a Tax Conference in Nigeria and to allow the institute organise the 2017 Annual Tax Conference respectively have not been retired.

Management also without approval allotted an amount of GHc20,500 to some staff for rent which was not part of the institute’s budget for the year in review.

Again, the institute’s effected twelve [12] Payments totalling GH¢22,500.00 were not supported with requisite payment retirement documentation.

The AG has admonished that within ten days, management should update its books.

It cautioned, failure to comply would attract sanctions.

THE ELECTORAL COMMISSION

In accordance with the report, The Electoral Commission, in 2016, awarded a contract for construction of 100 District Offices for US$15,127,362.53, instead of US$8,250,000 approved by Public Procurement Authority, based on the Commission’s own request, leading to unjustified budget overrun of US$6,877,362.53. Again, the Commission paid an amount of GH¢4,185,688.08(including the cost of consultancy) for partitioning and to fit-out its new Head office block, as against the budgeted amount of GH¢700,000.00, resulting in unjustified expenditure of GH¢3,485,688.53.

‘We encouraged management to seek retrospective approval from the Minister for Procurement to regularise the expenditures, failing which section 98 (1) of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) shall be enforced.’ AG warned.

The report further indicated, ‘We noted during our audit that, the Commission did not withhold tax at the rate of 20% on the allowances paid for electoral activities resulting in a tax liability of GH¢10,424,460.00.

We recommended that Management should seek a retrospective waiver from Parliament to cover this amount, failing which the Commission should pay the amount of GH¢10,424,460.00 to the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority by 31 December 2018 and subsequently recover the amount from the payees, otherwise, the authorising and the paying officers shall be surcharged with the amount involved.

Moreover, the Commission paid a total amount of GH¢3,798,387.31 to INOCON Ltd, for the construction of Fit-out of the new Head Office of the Electoral Commission. The payment included contingency provision of GH¢212,651.91 without any document showing fund approval, utilization and accountability.

Contrary to Government of Ghana directives contained in Ministry of Finance’s circular NO. BUD/CON/21/2014, dated 18th February, 2014, the Commission awarded various contracts totalling US$60,304,736.53 during the review period without clearance from the Ministry of Finance.

AG noted that a review of the Commission’s budget for 2016 that, Parliament approved a total amount of GH¢10,849,097.00 for capital expenditure. The Commission, however, expended a total amount of GH¢110,947,849.29 on Non-Current Assets (CAPEX), resulting in budget overrun totalling GH¢100,098,752.29 (923% more than the approved budget). This is because the Commission budgeted for Non-Current Asset (CAPEX) under operational activities, contrary to Ministry of Finance budget guidelines.

NATIONAL COMMUNICATIONS AUTHORITY

The auditor general cited with utmost concern that Bank transfer correspondence between the NCA and Ecobank GH Ltd dated 9 February 2016 requested the transfer of sums totalling US$4,000,000.00 from NCAs Dollar account to Infralocks Development Limited’s Account held at the Ecobank Head Office for the supply of Cyber Security equipment.

However, there was no documentation to provide details of the transaction apart from the official correspondence effecting the transfer.

The Ghana Export Promotion Authority and the University of Ghana are also being investigated for similar offences.

People responsible for the grand misappropriation of state funds would be hauled before the Public Accounts Committee for a fair hearing.

 

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