DVLA told to retrieve funds from ECOBANK

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has directed the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to take legal action to retrieve huge sums of monies wrongly paid to the staff of the Trust Bank (TTB), which has been taken over by Ecobank.

The DVLA wrongly paid some cashiers of the then TTB, now taken over by the Ecobank, when it contracted the bank to collect revenues on its behalf in 2009.

The 2012 Auditor-General’s Report on the DVLA, indicated that the Authority until April 2012 had wrongly paid GHc82, 595.00 to the staff of TTB, which was taken over by Ecobank, and according to the Auditor-General the amount was paid to the cashiers of TTB now Ecobank through direct debits to the DVLA account with the bank.

The Chairman of the PAC, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, who gave the directive in Accra yesterday, could not fathom why Ecobank had refused to pay monies wrongly paid to its staff.

This came to light` when the Ministry of Transport and its agencies: the DVLA and the National Road Safety Commission (NRSC), appeared before the committee to answer queries raised against them in the 2011/12/13 Auditor-General’s Report.

Mr. Agyeman-Manu said DVLA should use the court to retrieve the monies wrongly paid to the bank, instead of relying on the magnanimity of Ecobank to recover the money.

The Deputy Chairman of the PAC, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea said Ecobank inherited the assets and liabilities of TTB and therefore, could not refuse to pay the amount.

The Deputy Minister of Transport, Joyce Mogtari Bawa, who led the team, said her outfit would go to court to retrieve the money, and report back to the committee.

She said the ministry had already initiated steps to address the queries raised against the agencies under the Ministry of Transport to ensure that those infractions did not occur in future.

The Executive Director of DVLA, Noble John Appiah, explained that the wrongful payment arose following a contract the DVLA signed with the then TTB for the latter to collect monies on its behalf.

He said his outfit had written to Ecobank to pay back the money but the bank responded that it was not party to the contract, and could not pay the money.

The failure to prepare bank reconciliation statements and non-preparation of revenue budgets of the Tarkwa Office of the DVLA, absence of departmental accounting, name of transferred staff still on payroll, registration of vehicles in the name of vendors, purchases not rooted through stores, delayed in lodgment of revenue collected into bank to the tune of GH¢297,457.30, and failure to deduct rent to the tune of GH¢3,890.68 were some of the queries raised against the DVLA.

On the NRSC, the committee raised qualms about the un-receipted payment to the tune of GH¢2,220.00, works executed without order to the tune of GH¢1,100 and items not rooted through stores to the tune of GHc3, 488.00.

Responding to the queries, the Executive Director of the commission, Mrs. May Obiri Yeboah, told the committee that all the infraction had been addressed.

Other institutions that appeared before the committee were the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, and its agencies such as the Community Water and Sanitation Development Boards of Sefwi Bekwae, Bibiani, Awaso and Half-Assini, Bechem, Kintampo, Sunyani and Nkoransa.

The queries raised against them were their inability to collect water bills running into millions of cedis.

By Kingsley Asare

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