Drama unfolded at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)’s sitting yesterday when a former Director of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection mysteriously popped up from nowhere, to defend a corruption allegation levelled against her.
The former director at the Department of Children at the ministry, Mariama Yahya, who was not formally invited by the committee but claimed to have heard her name on the programme which was being aired live on GTV, made a surprise appearance at the committee’s sitting.
The Auditor General (AG) in its 2013 audit report on the account of the Gender Ministry accused the ministry of failing to provide payment voucher documentation to cover an amount of GH¢14,000 released to the Department of Children of the Ministry.
The Minister, Nana Oye Lithur, told the committee, chaired by Kwaku Agyeman Manu, Member of Parliament for Dormaa Central, that the ministry had written to the former director at the Department of Children requesting her to assist in addressing the issue.
According to her, the director has not responded to the request.
Interestingly, Madam Yahya appeared before the committee with a completely different story. She told the committee that she was forced out of her office by Nana Oye Lithur, who locked her office after interdicting her for no reason.
She noted that the amount was given to her to conduct interviews which she complied with and indicated that until she got access to her office and her documents not been tempered with, she would not be able to respond to the issue.
Mrs. Oye Lithur, who was dumbfounded by the development, did not confirm nor deny the allegation of Madam Yahya.
The ministry was also accused by the AG of overspending its budget by GH¢1.7 million in 2012. Five payment vouchers amounting to GH¢38,057 were without expenditure documentations.
Responding to the allegations, Mrs. Oye Lithur said “there was an urgent need to construct an office for the ministry and the Ministry of Finance provided releases for that purpose.”
However, she said lack of funds had forced the ministry to abandon the projects, although huge sums had already been sunk into it.
It also came to light that the ministry failed to record a total amount of GH¢140,448 purportedly expended on fuel and lubricants in 2012.
“Three vehicles which were used by three former officials of the ministry could not be produced for audit inspection,” the AG further alleged.
<strong>By Yaw Kyei</strong>