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FOREIGN AFFAIRS CAUGHT - As A-G stops Mahama’s GHC10m claim

Politics

It is emerging from the recent Auditor-General’s Report that, so neck-deep in corruption was the John Mahama administration, that otherwise decent Ministries like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was caught in its vicious tentacles, dragging the institution into a scandal worth about GHC10,000,000.

It is emerging from the recent Auditor-General’s Report that, so neck-deep in corruption was the John Mahama administration, that otherwise decent Ministries like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was caught in its vicious tentacles, dragging the institution into a scandal worth about GHC10,000,000.

 

So deep, additionally, was the level of corruption that, of the several itemized figures in relation to transactions that they submitted as liabilities to the Ghana government, almost the whole amount was rejected. Indeed, the total liabilities the administration submitted was GHC 9,791,695.90, whiles only GHC697, 508.32 out of the amount, which was far less than even GHC1,000,000, was accepted.

The GHC697.508.32 was in relation to renovation of Adu Lodge, carried out by International Development Resources Ltd.

This is in spite of the fact of that the nation has a culture of picking decent personalities in the respective administrations of both the New Patriotic Party and the National Democratic Congress as Ministers in that ministry, which has seen the likes of Victor Gbeho, Nana Akufo-Addo, Hannah Tetteh, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey etc.

In the opinion of the Auditor-General, it is surprising that a ministry, which attracts the best brains from academia and the professions could claim that government was, for instance, indebted to Ambassador Tenkorang, who was appointed Director of State Protocol from September 2011 to February 2016, an amount of GH¢49,000.00 without providing accounting proof in line financial regulations.

The report revealed: “To ascertain the veracity of this claim, we requested for the underlying documents and noted that though it was in respect of arrears for salary related allowances, there was no certification of the amount from the Ghana Audit Service, as required for all arrears of salary due for payment.”

“Based on the aforementioned, we rejected the claim of GH¢49,000.00 as at 31 December 2016,” the report added.

Another claims that was totally shot down by the Auditor-General was an attempt by the Ministry to siphon an amount of GH¢972,675.00 which it asserted were owed Ghana Mission in Brussels, Health Insurance Premium and other outstanding bills.

According to the Auditor-General, it totally rejected the claims because a request for underlying documents supporting the claims could not be provided except for the Mission’s request letter Referenced AD/AC/BRU of 20 January 2015 for €250,000.00

“MFA could not provide any record for our review and examination to enable us certify the indebtedness.  

In the absence of the supporting documentation we rejected the total claim of GH¢972,675.00 as at 31 December 2016,” the report indicated.

Another claim of GH¢494,916.10 in relation to renovation works and replacement of unserviceable items in the residence of Ghana’s Ambassador to Abidjan was also rejected.

According to the Auditor General, after requesting for the underlying documents to ascertain the validity of the claim, it “noted that the GH¢494,916.10 was only an estimated figure and as required under CAPEX, there were no documentation in respect of commencement  warrant nor invoices  to support the claim,” and “therefore rejected the liability of GH¢494,916.10 as at 31 December 2016.”

It further rejected a claim of GH¢2,967,714.05  by the Ministry.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry asserted that the amount was in respect to renovation works carried on the new Chancery building of Ghana’s Mission in Bamako.

However, the Auditor General rejected the entire amount after the underlying records to establish the claim could not be provided, apart from MFA’s letter submitting the claim to MoF.

 “In the absence of the supporting documentation we rejected the claim of GH¢2,967,714.05 as valid as at 31 December 2016,” the Auditor General maintained.

Furthermore, a claim of GH¢80,272.84 supposedly owed one Bismark Derek Adrigbatey , who was attached to the Research Department of the Ghana Mission in Washington, USA, was also rejected.

“The MFA in response to the MoF request asserted that government was indebted to Bismark Derek Adrigbatey an amount of GH¢80,272.84 in respect of terminal benefits  due him as at 31 December 2016. 

To ascertain the validity of this claim we requested for the underlying documentation supporting the liability, however MFA could not provide the requested documentation for our review and examination.  Based on the aforementioned we rejected the claim of GH¢80,272.84 as at 31 December 2016,” the report noted.

Retirement benefits of locally recruited staff, an amount of GH¢ 727,178.34 was also rejected outright by the Auditor-General.

The amount, according to the Ministry, accrued as a result of government’s indebtedness to some locally recruited staff of its Consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia in respect of their retirement benefits.

“To ascertain the veracity of this claim, we requested for the underlying documents and noted that the claim had not been referred to the Ghana Audit Service for certification.

Based on the aforementioned, we rejected the claim of GH¢727,178.34 as a liability payable to the retirees,” the Auditor General’s report indicated.

Another request of GH¢296,256.00 in respect of African Catering Services which the Ministry claimed was unpaid by government was also rejected because the Ministry failed to provide documentation to that effect.

An amount of GH¢185,664.00 as government’s indebtedness to the Ministry from the purchase of a new residential car for Ghana’s mission in Algiers was rejected as well.

“To ascertain the veracity of this claim, we requested for the underlying documents in relation to the purchase of the vehicle and noted that the related MoF authorization to commit government as part of its CAPEX allocation, or initialization of the activity on the GIFMIS platform were not available for our review,” the report stated.

Again the Ministry’s request to purchase a new vehicle at GH¢79,896.00 was also rejected.

“Following a request by MoF, the MFA asserted that government was indebted to the Ministry to the tune of GH¢419, 713.00 in respect of tickets purchased for Ambassadors and their deputies as at 31 December 2016.

To ascertain the veracity of this claim, we requested for the underlying documents establishing the indebtedness. Our review revealed a compilation schedule for eighteen beneficiaries amounting to GH¢179,724 as well as $79,896 as a charge on the Ministry’s Goods and Service vote. We did not sight further documentation to authenticate the claim as at 31 December 2016,” the report added.