An audit inquiry into the account of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority by the Auditor General has revealed gross financial improprieties running into millions of Ghana cedis.
The management of the authority is alleged to have supervised payments without adequate supporting documents, mismanaged imprests, engaged in procurement irregularities, among other infractions.
The Auditor General captured these irregularities in its audit report on the account of the Ghana Shippers’ Authority between January 1 and December 31, 2014.
The audit revealed that management of the authority had failed to retrieve a US$2.5 million after rendering services to some shipping lines, made payments of GH¢824,329 and US$156,760 without supporting them with official receipts, and expended GH¢235,552.95 without proper supporting documentations.
In addition, the management engaged in procurement irregularities amounting to GH¢199,662.65 in the procurement of some items during the accounting year.
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) yesterday took up the matter and invited a team of officials from the authority, led by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Sylvia Owoo, to explain the circumstances that led to the infractions.
Members on the committee chastised the management of the shippers’ authority for allowing such infractions to occur under its watch.
They said the breach revealed by the Auditor General gave credence to the fact that the authority lacked proper management supervision.
Explaining the reasons behind the transactions without proper documents, Ms Owoo said the payments were made electronically, and, therefore, did not have readily available supporting receipts at the time of the audit.
She said the authority would adhere to the recommendations by the Auditor General, to ensure that such infractions did not reoccur.
Managements of the Ghana Ports and Habours Authority and the Ghana Railway Company Limited were also before the committee, for engaging in similar infractions
According to the Auditor General, the Ghana Railway Company Limited had spent GH¢1.5 million, but could not account for the money, and there was poor maintenance of the company’s assets.
The Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority also disbursed GH¢256,343.59 for the Golden Jubilee Terminal without supporting documentation for the expenditure.
The Auditor General recommended to the management of the Ports and Habours Authority to investigate the causes of the missing documents and also institute proper achieving mechanisms to ensure that supporting documents for transactions were adequately maintained for future reference.
Officials from Electoral Commissin, National Development Planning Commission, and National Commission for Civic Education are expected to appear before the committee today
By Yaw Kyei