Finance Ministry to challenge Auditor-General over $1m to Kroll and Associates

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has served notice that it would challenge Auditor-General’s audit finding which sought to indict it for paying $1million to a U.K based consultancy firm, Kroll and Associates without justification.

According to the Ministry, the findings were published in the auditor-general’s report on the account of the treasury departments and agencies for the period ending 31st December 2018.

However, it failed to incorporate the response of the ministry into its final report and also went ahead to make public pronouncements on it.

 Addressing journalists at the Wednesday edition of the bi-weekly briefing of the Ministry of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said indeed the report itself concedes that information on the said transaction was requested from the Ministry of Finance by the auditors.

He said the MoF in turn reported that it would have to get the details from the office of the Senior Minister which was the appropriate office that executed the transaction, however, prior to furnishing the audit team with the response, the audit was completed.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the report had been published to the effect that there was no evidence of work for the payment of that $1million, adding that “The Auditor-General is reported to have further gone public in the mass media and announced this finding as though it is  a concluded non-rebuttable fact.”

He said the constitutional practice was that the auditor-general’s report was submitted to parliament upon completion, after which affected departments and agencies were invited to respond whether or not they had a valid explanation or response.

After this parliament then proceeds to make some consequential instructions, stressing that “the Ministry of Finance believes that at least if this constitutional path had been followed, it would have had the appropriate opportunity to respond at the next forum which is parliament.

He said the explanation would have indicated that the transaction was backed by an agreement that took effect on February 13, 2017 pursuant to a letter of intent on February 2, 2017 that was signed between the two parties.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the letter and its content were further included in an agreement dated September 29 that same year after the transaction.

Additionally, he said the Office of the Senior Minister, responded to the MoF’s query to the effect that since September 2017, Kroll had been working with the Government of Ghana (GoG) to undertake extensive and thorough investigations into allegations of wrong doing and gathering evidence of asset recovery for public prosecutions.

“Kroll has since 2017 worked diligently and consistently and their fees have been paid against the investigations they have conducted and value of assets Kroll has identified. All payments we made appropriately and there are invoices to cover all those transactions,” he emphasised.

He said the findings therefore to the effect that there was no contract and monies have been paid without any work done was wrong.

By Cliff Ekuful

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