Pre-University institutions ‘chop’ GH¢42m in 2020 – Eduwatch

Pre-University educational institutions across the country recorded financial irregularities of over GH¢42 million for the year 2020.

The irregularities were in cash management, procurement and stores, payroll, contract management and tax infractions.

The amount indicated a 78 per cent increase in financial irregularities from the 2019 value of GH¢ 23 million.

This was contained in a statement by the Africa Education Watch (Eduwatch), an education policy research and advocacy organisation on its second published Education Accountability Report (EAR II), copied to the Ghanaian Times in Accra on Tuesday.

The report is a summarised review of key findings and recommendations in three different Auditor-General’s reports on Pre-University Educational Institutions (Second-cycle institutions and Colleges of Education), Technical Universities, the Ministry of Education (MoE) together with selected Departments and Agencies for the year ended 31st December, 2020.

According to the statement, the financial irregularities in those institutions was due to the “lack of commitment on the part of managements of these institutions to implement previous audit recommendations and enforce compliance to public financial management and procurement laws and regulations.”

Also, the statement said Technical Universities across the country recorded a 92.32 per cent decrease in amount involved in financial irregularities from GH¢170.6 million in 2019 to GH¢13 million for the 2020 financial year, indicating improvement in compliance in Technical Universities.

Again, the MoE and selected agencies recorded financial irregularities amounting to GH¢ 21.9 million, “resulting mainly from cash management irregularities amounting to about GH¢ 20 million, indicating weak compliance with Public Financial Management Laws and Regulations.”

The Eduwatch has, therefore, recommended that the MoE and the Office of the President hold members of the Governing Councils of Education Sector Institutions responsible for major financial irregularities in the Auditor-General’s reports.

“Board members who supervise the occurrence of significant financial irregularities should be dismissed. Heads of Educations Sector Institutions whose agencies were cited for major breaches should be sanctioned publicly to deter others from repeating same,” it added.

The education policy research and advocacy organisation also said the sector ministry should develop a plan to adopt a robust monitoring system to ensure misappropriated funds identified in the Auditor-General’s reports are duly recovered from various individuals and institutions, and feedback submitted tothe Auditor-General.

It again asked the ministry to collaborate with the Audit Service and the Public Service Commission to ensure qualified internal auditors are deployed to all Education Sector Institutions in the newly created regions, while building the capacity of existing ones.

“The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament must demand an appraisal of the implementation of Audit Recommendations in previous Audit Reports ahead of public hearings on new Audit Reports.

The Attorney General’s Department and Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) must strengthen its collaboration with the Auditor-General to investigate and prosecute offenders,” it added.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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