Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee is unhappy with the Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, for failing to appear before it for the third time running.
According to the Committee, the Minister’s action is an affront to the standing committee of the House clothed with the mandate to consider the Auditor-General’s report on how state funds have been utilised.
At the committee’s sitting in Accra yesterday, to consider the report ending December 31, 2016, the chairman, James Klutse Avedzi, MP, Ketu North, said the minister was taking the committee for granted.
Mr Agyeman-Manu, a former chairman of the committee, is yet to appear before the it since his appointment as minister in 2017.
In the previous sittings during the First and Second Sessions of the Seventh Parliament of the Fourth Republic, Mr Agyeman-Manu, MP, Dormaa Central, was represented by his Deputy, Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu.
In the view of Mr Avedzi, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu’s posture towards the committee was at variance to what he preached when he chaired the committee.
“He has been the chairman of this committee and we saw and knew how he handled ministers who failed to appear before it.
“He must know what he said in the past and not do a different thing because he always failed to appear before the committee. Since coming into office, he has never attended to committee,” Mr Avedzi noted.
But Mr Aboagye-Gyedu told the committee that his boss was unable to be at the sitting himself because he was bereaved.
“He wanted to be here but unfortunately, he is bereaved and just this morning, the World Bank Mission has come to the ministry and that is why he could not be here,” he explained.
The committee, meanwhile, has been told how an unearned salary of staff of a health facility in Asanta, totaling over GH¢86,000 has been converted into a loan without recourse to any laid down procedure.
According to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, Nana Agyei Mensah, converting the unearned salary into a loan was illegal and against the Public Financial Management Act.
He said steps were however being taken to retrieve the money from the beneficiary.
The committee is sitting to consider the report of the Auditor-General on the public accounts of Ministries, Department and Agencies for the year ended December 31, 2016.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI