At public hearing of A-G’s report: 10 SHS mgt officers in trouble! … PAC recommends prosecution over procurement irregularities   

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has recommended the prosecution of some management officers of Senior High Schools (SHSs)in the Western Region, for procurement and store irregularities involving uncompetitive procurement.

Others are also to face Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for receiving unearned salaries.

The directive followed a public hearing on report of the Auditor-General of pre-university educational institutions for the financial year ending December 31, 2018.

Quoting section 20 of the Public Procurement(amendment), Act 2016,(Act 914), the Auditor General stated that, the procurement entity shall request quotations from as many suppliers or contractors as practicable,but, from at least different sources.

However, the report noted that 10 institutions procured goods and services without obtaining alternative price quotations from suppliers and service providers.

Sekondi Methodist SHS, for example, raised six Pay Vouchers (PVs) totalling GH¢66,830, Tarkwa SHS, 23 PVs totalling GH¢48,607,Archbishop Porter Girls  SHS, 16 PVs, totalling GH¢99,828.

Meanwhile, the PAC had directed the arrest and prosecution of Mr Ebenezer Nelson, formerly ofAdiembraSHS for the misappropriation of GH¢143,750, being feescollected from students.

Giving the directive to the clerk, at the start of a five-day sitting,  the Chairman of PAC, Dr James KlutseAvedzi, explained that, the law stipulated that such infractions attracted 2,500 penalty units, that is about GH¢30,000 or five-year imprisonment or both.

He said, thecommittee wouldforward the matter to the Attorney General for prosecution.

“We don’t have the power to sanction such infractions and so we’ll recommend to the Attorney General that officers involved go to court to prove their case,” he added.

He was also unhappy about the failure of Mr Nelson formerly of Adiembra for not accounting for school fees collected and not still accounting for the moneys.

Noting that the matter had been reported to the Regional Education Directorate, MrAvedzi,told the session that the committee would follow the matter up and ensure that the police dealt with the case.

“We have recommended the matter for prosecution.You can’t collect school fees and not account for the moneys and go scot -free,” he commented.

The PAC Chairman directed that Peter Kwaw should be made to refund an unearned salary of GH¢4,676.85 whiles working at Takoradi Technical Institute (TTI) and the matter reported to EOCO.

One Odame Antwi, is also to be subject of EOCO investigation for an unearned salary ofGH¢5,808 while at Archbishop Porter Girls.

“The cause of payment of the unearned salary was attributed to the respective management’s failure to notify Controller and Accountant General Department for the deletion of the names and also inability to inform their banks to stop payments of the same.

“We recommend to management of the institutions to recover the unearned salaries failure of which the amounts should be recovered from the Heads and the accountants,” the Auditor General’s reports indicated.

In the case ofOdameAntwi, the management reported that they had recovered about GH¢4,500.

In the case of Mr Nelson, the AG report noted that, the anomaly was due to poor supervision and weak  internal controls,and, therefore,  recommended that, he refunded the moneys into the school accounts at the current interest rate and that disciplinary action should be taken against him.

FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI

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