The Speaker, Edward Doe Adjaho, have called for the establishment of an Audit Report Implementation Committee to take up recommendations of the Auditor-General’s (AG) and sanction individuals cited for gross financial mismanagement.
The Speaker made this remark on the floor of Parliament last Friday when the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Kwaku Agyeman Manu, presented the report of the Committee on the Auditor-General’s report on the public accounts of Pre-University Educational Institutions for the 2010 and 2011Financial years.
He expressed concerns over the yearly recurrence of such mismanagement in the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) reports without the implementation of the recommendations.
He said there was a need to shift from the process of merely identifying the misappropriations and move forward to sanction offenders.
Chairman of the PAC, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who presented the committee’s report, said the A-G cited cash irregularities, procurement irregularities, payroll irregularities, among others, in the schools.
He noted that 179 out of 583 pre-university institutions failed to submit their annual account for auditing, 42 schools were cited for purchasing goods and services from non-VAT issuing companies, 92 schools engaged in payment of unearned salaries while 150 institutions were involved in unsubstantiated payments to the tune of more than four million Ghana Cedis.
“According to the A-G, these financial irregularities occurred in the institutions due to the disregard for financial rules and regulations and ineffective supervisory controls over the financial activities of accounting offices by heads of the institutions,” he said.
He said the committee observed with concern that contrary to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), 102 schools throughout the country undertook procurement amounting to GH¢6.7 million in an uncompetitive manner.
Notable among the schools are Mfantsipim, St. Augustine’s College, Obuasi Senior High and Technical School, Konongo Odumasi, Akim Swedru, Pope John SHS, Aburi Girls, among others.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu said four institutions in both the Ashanti and Volta Regions undertook the procurement of goods and services without recourse to any procurement plan in an uncoordinated manner, thereby undermining the concept of value for money.
He urged the GES to identify the officers responsible and sanction them in accordance with section 92 of the Public Procurement Act.
On the payment of unearned salaries, he said contrary to sections 297 and 298 of the Financial Administration Regulations (FAR), 92 pre-tertiary schools failed to ensure that the names of separated staff were promptly deleted from their payrolls.
The schools he said were Anglican SHS in Kumasi, Aggrey Memorial SHS, Oforipanin SHS, St. Roses SHS, St. Peters SHS, Presby Boys SHS, among others.
He noted that during "the committee’s interaction with the management of the schools cited for such irregularity, it came to the fore that the persistent payment of unearned salaries was mainly as a result of delays in the deletion names of separated staff from the payroll by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department."
Mr. Agyeman-Manu said the Financial Administration Act (FAA) required that the Controller and Accountant General go beyond recovery of unearned salaries to include payment of interest as required by section 61(1) and (2) of the Act.
He urged the heads of institutions to report officers cited for irregularities who were at large to the police for investigation and prosecution.
He specifically charged heads of Tumu, Kaleo, Krachi, Abetifi Presby, Bibiani, Nyakrom, and Ogua Senior High Schools to report their officers who took unearned salaries to the police for prosecution.
Mr. Agyemang-Manu also disclosed that 81 institutions throughout the country failed to recover salaries advances totaling GH351, 877.28 granted to their staff members and urged the management of the institutions cited for that irregularity to ensure that the outstanding advances were recovered immediately.
Members of Parliament who contributed to the motion urged the Ghana Education Service (GES) to sanction and prosecute offenders and called on the service to report those at large to the police for investigation and prosecution in accordance with the law.
Source: ISD (Gilbert Ankrah & Raymond Kwofie)