The Auditor-General(A-G)’s report: MDAs cannot account for over GH¢1bn …due to weaknesses, irregularities in financial administration

Weaknesses and irregularities in the financial administration of the country has left GH¢1,080,913,824 unaccounted for by government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the 2021 financial year, the Auditor-General (A-G) has uncovered. 

This, however, represents a 52.6 per cent reduction in the GH¢2,053,176,449 irregularity recorded in 2020. 

In a report transmitted to Parliament pursuant to Article 87(5) of the Constitution, the A-G, Johnson AkuamoahAsiedu, explained why the irregularities may have occurred. 

“The irregularities represent either losses that had been incurred by the State through the impropriety or lack of probity in the actions and decisions of public officers or on the other hand, the savings that could have been made, if public officials and institutions had duly observed the public financial management framework put in place to guide their conduct and also safeguard national assets and resources,” he said. 

According to the report seen by the Ghanaian Times which featured 21 ministries and other agencies, the irregularities were detected in the areas of tax, cash, payroll, stores and procurement, rent payment, contracts and loans. 

“Tax irregularities (GH¢989,026,225) formed 91.5 per cent of the total financial infractions reported. Included in this tax irregularity was GH¢402,804,572 due from 28 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) who defaulted in paying their rescheduled debt between January 2021 to December 2021. 

“These irregularities could be attributed mainly on the failure of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to pursue the OMCs by applying the relevant measures and sanctions against defaulters.

“We recommend that the Commissioner General, GRA, strengthens its monitoring and supervision of its staff. He should also take steps to improve efficiency in their tax collections and follow up on overdue taxes while applying sanctions as prescribed by the laws,” the 212-page report said. 

Total cash irregularities noted during the period, the report revealed, amounted to GH¢45,763,607. 

They were occasioned by unapproved disbursements, unrepresented payment vouchers, unaccounted revenue, unsupported payment vouchers, funds to banks not credited, non-lodgement of public funds, misapplication of funds and unretired imprest. 

Included in the cash irregularities GH¢2,446,321and US$727 paid on 14 payment vouchers but were not presented for examination during the review period, the report noted and recommended that “the Chief Director and Head of Finance should pay back into account the amount involved.” 

In the area of default in loans advanced by the MDAs, the report said GH¢30,758,576 was yet to be retrieved. 

“A significant amount of these irregularities was GH¢9,521,000 owed by 62 companies and individuals to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture for the purchase of tractors.

“We recommend that the Chief Director and the Director of Engineering should recover the outstanding debt from the defaulting companies and individuals with interest at the prevailing Bank of Ghana interest rate.”

Payroll irregularities, the report said amounted to GH¢5,583,498, rent irregularities, GH¢7,710,925, contract irregularities GH¢1,559,242 and procurement irregularities GH¢511,569. 

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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