PARLIAMENT’S Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Auditor General’s findings on the Accounts of District Assemblies for the Financial Year ended December 31, 2015 has recommended that the Ministry of Finance established Audit Committees in all 216 assemblies.
The Audit Committees, the PAC report reckons, would address internal financial management weaknesses in the assemblies.
The report, which was adopted and approved in Parliament yesterday, a copy of which the Ghanaian Times has, noted that “failure to apply sanctions over the years has contributed immensely to financial violations” at the assemblies.
Some of the infractions noted by the Committee include unaccounted payments, unaccounted revenues, and unearned salaries, among others.
Signed by its chairman, James Klutse Avedzi, the Member of Parliament for Ketu North, the 41-page report indicated that “most of the assemblies found culpable in the above irregularities could not present payment vouchers for payments made or provide documentation to substantiate the payments.”
According to the report, “management of the assemblies cited poor filing systems, relocation of office, and absence of finance officers during the time of the audit as some of the reasons why the payments could not be established during the audit.”
The report indicated that as at December 31, 2015, only 201 of the 216 assemblies submitted their annual accounts and statements for audit validation.
For example in the Upper East Region, the report said the irregularities across eight assemblies there amounted to GH¢208,000.
Seven districts across the Upper West Region, the report said, were in violation of various cash and tax regulations which amounted to GH¢3,412,888 whilst in the Northern Region, 11 Districts could not substantiate the payment of GH¢185,000.
In the Brong Ahafo Region the irregularities amounted to GH¢885,019, while GH¢23.4 million of revenue was uncollected in 2015, the report revealed.
With the Assemblies failing to collect GH¢233,544 in revenues in the Western Region, the report said misappropriation of stool land revenues also amounted to GH¢150,981.
In the Volta Region and Eastern regions, the committee, among other irregularities, noted that GH¢110,557 and GH¢867,698 in revenues was unaccounted for respectively.
“The committee has observed that 142 revenue collectors within the Greater Accra Region were unable to account for GH¢44, 361,” whilst GH¢12,715 was paid in unearned salaries.
Proffering harsh sanctions, the committee report said “some officers of some Assemblies either do not appreciate the enormity of the sanctions involved or lack knowledge of what is pertained in the law.”
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI