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PAC gives Nkwanta North Assembly ultimatum to identity who cleared GH₵30,00 cheque

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has given officials of the Nkwanta North District Assembly a one-week ultimatum to ascertain the identity of the person who cleared a cheque of  GH₵30,000 in two installments in a deal at the assembly in 2015, and report same to the Committee.

The assembly was said in the Auditor General’s report on the Utilisation and Management of the District Assemblies Common Fund for 2015 and 2016, to have paid the amount as registration for a membership status of an international organisation, Global Sister Cities Foundation.

The foundation is a platform where member cities and towns collaborate for mutually beneficial exchange arrangements for development.

According to the Auditor-General’s report, the assembly paid the amount for visa and other traveling expenses for the foundation’s 81st annual convention in Arkansas, USA.

The report said despite the money paid, the trip was aborted, but the Acting District Coordinating Director (DCD), Sevlo Adjei, at the PAC’s sitting in Accra yesterday, said the amount was meant to be a registration fee.

The nonrefundable money, the acting DCD said, qualifies the assembly to engage other members to lobby for development in the Nkwanta North area.

But officials of the Auditor-General’s Department, discounted the claim that the money was not refundable.

The assembly on February 12, 2017 wrote a letter to one Prince Kwame Klujeson for refund, a Deputy Auditor-General, Odame Agyekum, recounted and wondered why the team before the committee would say the amount was nonrefundable.

The identity of the person who cleared the cheque, however, could immediately not be established though the cheque was written in the name of the foundation.

When asked by the Chairman of the Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, that in whose name was the cheque written, Mr Adjei said the payment vouchers was in the name of his predecessor.

He explained that the disbursement form indicated that the cheque was written in the name of Global Sister Cities.

The foundation in a letter, Mr Adjei said, confirmed receipt of the amount but Mr Avedzi, a chartered accountant by profession, said that was not enough to establish the identity of who cleared the cheque.

“That is a letter,” he said. “You have to do your independent checks to establish who cashed the money and one of the documents to assist you is the bank statement.

“Who cashed the money? Was it cashed by the Global Sister Cities Foundation?” he asked again to which Mr Adjei had no answer.

“If I prepare a cheque in the name of a company, it is that company that must cash the cheque, but if is cashed by a different person, then there is something wrong.

“This cheque could be cashed by the [former] DCD or could be cashed by somebody else who is using the name of the foundation but the bank statement will tell you that this money actually hit the account of the foundation.

“We want you to, within a week, establish who actually cashed the money so that we can surcharge the person,” he directed.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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