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Probe government’s Covid-19 expenditures – NDC to Auditor-General

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The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) is asking the Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo to conduct a special audit into the expenditure of some ¢280.3 million spent on relief items during the lockdown period.

According to the Minority almost a month after the lockdown, the government has failed to furnish the nation with how the funds were utilized.

Addressing journalists at the maiden edition of the party’s Weekly Press Briefing in Accra on Monday, June 1, the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr. Cassiel Ato Forson alleged that functionaries of the ruling NPP misappropriated the funds meant for the vulnerable.

“The low coverage and haphazard implementation of these interventions during the lockdown period, specifically the distribution of free hot meals and dry food to the vulnerable, as well as the supply of tankers of water to deprived households, gives us cause for concern that these funds were not utilized judiciously by government.

“This is particularly so, as we have sighted media reports of state-sponsored COVID relief items meant for the vulnerable, being sold in the market by functionaries of the ruling New Patriotic Party in Kumasi and other parts of the country.

“Indeed, we have in our possession, an audio recording from Kumasi based Silva FM, in which Market women at Tafo Pankrono have confirmed that eggs meant for the vulnerable under the CAP have been diverted and sold on the market by persons associated with certain government functionaries in the area.”

Mr. Ato Forson said, while an audit will clear the allegations and justify how the funds were utilized, a similar exercise must be initiated into the dealings of the Covid-19 Trust Fund set up by President Akufo-Addo to solicit funds to assist in the fight against the coronavirus.

“In this same spirit of transparency and accountability, we call on President Akufo Addo to direct the trustees of the COVID-19 Trust Fund to provide a report to Ghanaians detailing the total amount of donations they have so far received and how they have been utilized to date.

“This is our view, will boost public confidence in the administration of the fund and encourage more persons to donate to the fund to support our collective fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr. Forson also accused the government of hiding behind the coronavirus situation in the country to engage in reckless borrowings and expenditures.

“It is important to make the point that we are deeply worried about how the Akufo Addo government is hiding behind the coronavirus situation in the country to engage in reckless borrowings and expenditures, which portend great danger for the country’s economy.

“Only last week, we found out that the government is printing GH¢10 billion through the Bank of Ghana to finance the budget on the blind side of Parliament and without any legitimate justification.

“Indeed, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana has confirmed that the first tranche of ¢5.5 billion has already been advanced to the government in clear violation of the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612) and the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), he added.

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