An amount of GH¢ 505,179,134.55 has been misappropriated and embezzled by some public officials working in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), during the 2015 financial year.
The financial irregularities cut across all the MDAs and were attributable to unapproved and unjustified disbursement, dishonoured cheques, unaccounted revenue and unauthorised transfers.
Others were misapplication of funds, non-lodgement of public funds and unsupported payment vouchers, among others.
This is contained in the report of the Auditor-General’s Public Accounts of Ministries, Departments and Agencies for the financial year 2015 submitted to Parliament by the immediate past Auditor-General, Richard Quartey, on behalf of the Ghana Audit Service as a statutory requirement.
The report alleged that a former Ghana Revenue Authority accountant at the Kotoka International Airport Collection point, M.F. Demanya, proceeded on terminal leave without handing over the financial and accounting records to the officer taking over, resulting in the withdrawal of GH¢ 1,067,900.85.
Consequently, the report urged management of the GRA to hold Mr Demanya liable for the amount.
The report also uncovered the case of 2,000 firms in the Greater Accra Region who owed the GRA GH¢ 80, 733,671.03 in corporate and income taxes for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 assessment years.
According to the report tax irregularities amounting to GH¢ 305,417,021.42 was attributable to the GRA to collect tax revenues and to apply measures and sanctions in section 135(2) and 136 of the Internal Revenue Act, 2000 (Act 592) for tax administration.
Contract irregularities amounted to GH¢ 51,941,818.68 involving delay in the execution of projects, shoddy constructional works, non-execution of works after payment of mobilisation.
An amount of GH¢115,505.93 was in respect of defaulters and uncollected rent due on government bungalows.
Also the report stated that GH¢ 77, 857,091.61 disbursed as loans and sale of tractors and equipment to individuals and groups from an Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund remained unaccounted for.
The audit report recommended to GRA to take steps to improve efficiency in tax administration and collection and follow up on overdue taxes and applying sanctions as prescribed by the tax laws.
It also recommended to heads of MDAs to continue to strengthen their controls over the collections and disbursement of cash and other funds and ensure strict adherence to the provisions of the Financial Administration Act 2003(Act 654)and Financial Administration Regulations 2004 (L.I. 1802).
By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman