The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has called on the government to ensure the full compliance of the Public Financial Management (PFMA) Act and Public Procurement (PPA) Act to safeguard all public funds and deliver value for money.
This follow issues by the government which had been specifically stated as worrying and had a potential to exacerbate the high perception of corruption by citizens with regards to the management of COVID-19 funds particularly.
The GII made the call to mark this year’s African Union (AU) Anti-Corruption Day and copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.
The day was commemorated on the theme “Strategies and Mechanisms for the Transparent Management of COVID-19 Funds.”
The GII indicated that its Corruption Risks Assessment revealed that, so far, no audit of the COVID-19 interventions had been conducted or published for public accessibility.
“Subsequent findings by others have corroborated this sad trend which has culminated in calls for an audit by the opposition Members of Parliament which the Speaker has instituted a bi-partisan committee to address,” the statement added.
The Initiative said the Finance Minister’s presentation in June, this year could not be construed to constitute an audit or accountability asit focused on the headline items rather than the detailed expenditure and compliance issues regarding the use of public funds.
Regarding the $10million loan to produce emergency Personal Protective Equipment kits and gear, it said there was evidence to suggest that there was no tendering notice given for the procurement.
The GII said there had not been any information about how much the government spent on the establishment of the National Information Contact Centre (NICC) at the Accra Digital Centre to provide information on COVID-19 and related matters.
“With regards to a $3.6million for health system strengthening, it is unclear how Government spent funds earmarked under this allocation from the World Bank,” it added.
The GII, therefore, asked the PPA to develop regulations and guidelines concerning sole sourcing in Government procurement as well as ensure that all public procurement records were complete and accurate, and easily accessible to the public in a single file.
“The Parliament should review the provision in Section 14 (3) of the PPA Act that vests power in the Minister of Finance to direct the use of a different procurement procedure where the Minister determines that it is in the ‘national interest’ to do so,” it stated.
“The Heads of the Civil and Local Government Services should see to the strict enforcement of the Code of Conduct for the Ghana Civil Service,” it added.
The GII also used the opportunity to commend all anti-corruption stakeholders in the country and across Africa for their enormous efforts and called on them to use the Day as an opportunity to reflect and dialogue on the strategies and mechanisms taken on the transparency and accountability in the management of COVID-19 funds to ensure that these funds are used judiciously and solely for the purposes for which they were released.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR