The managers of the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to respond to allegations of financial malpractices cited by the Auditor General (AG).
Managers of the authority have been cited for spending a total amount of GH¢250,000 on trips to Birmingham, Berlin, and Istanbul, without approval by the Board of the authority.
The AG, has recommended to the management to surcharge GH¢186million of the total amount against Mr. Gilbert Seidu Iddi, the former Chief Executive Officer of SADA who authorised the payment.
Also, according to the AG, the management of SADA failed to recover an amount of US$1 million loan it granted to the government to pay a construction firm known as Hunan Construction Engineering Group in 2012.
Although the current Chief Executive Officer of SADA, Charles Abugre, tried to offer explanations to some of the infractions which were made by his predecessor, the members were not content with most of the reasons given.
The committee, Chaired by the Member of Parliament of Dormaa Central, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, accused the management of weak control of the SADA fund.
SADA is an independent agency established by the government, to coordinate a comprehensive development agenda for the northern savannah ecological zone in Ghana.
The area comprises the Upper East, Upper West, and the Northern regions and stretches to include districts contiguous to the Northern Region that are located in the Brong Ahafo and Volta regions.
It also came to light that an amount of GH¢38 million which was advanced from the SADA account with the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to the government had not been recovered.
Mr. Abugre appealed to the committee to give him some time to get the necessary documents on the loans with the government and reappear on a future date to offer better explanations.
The committee entreated Mr. Abugre to enforce the recommendations by the AG and surcharge the people involved in the malfeasance
The management of SADA were also cited for releasing an amount of GH¢30,000 to two board members who had been tasked to perform management functions.
“Though management stated that it was a managerial decision to pay them the said honorarium, they could not substantiate their assertion with any correspondence or provide an authority to our review,” the AG report said.
By Yaw Kyei