Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has cautioned that it will no more tolerate submissions of receipts and other documents, during public sittings.
The committee directed that receipts and documents should be presented to auditors during auditing, so that they could ascertain the genuineness or otherwise of receipts and documents.
Chairman of the committee, James Klutse Avedzi, asked institutions, including assemblies, to comply with auditing regulations, as dictated by the Public Financial Management Regulations (PFMR) 2019, and guidelines of the District Assemblies Common Fund.
He gave the order when 14 district assemblies from Western Region and the Takoradi Technical University (TTU) appeared at the PAC public sittings in Takoradi, on Monday.
The PAC considered the 2020 Audit reports on District Assemblies Command Fund, and the Internally Generated Funds (IGF).
The Effia Kwesiminstim Municipal Assembly (EKMA) was queried by the Auditor General (AG)’s report on unsubstantiated payment of component cost of GH¢33,000 contrary to Regulation 80 of the PFMR, 2019, for the construction of 11 boreholes at the cost of GH¢413,363.10.
Even though the contracts were completed, component cost was not supported with geologist and chemist reports.
Auditors, therefore, recommended recovery of the said amount from the coordinating director, finance officer, and works engineer.
Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly (STMA) could not provide evidence of revenue totalling GH¢27,388 from a franchise toilet, at the Sekondi sub-metro.
The Coordinating Director, John Owu, however, claimed it retrieved GH¢3,000 from an attendant, remaining GH¢24,338, adding that the colonial toilet was now dilapidated and not functional.
Mr Avedzi, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Ketu North, said that auditors gathered information on revenue and expenditure to write their reports, and urged assemblies and institutions “to put their books in order.”
He said “Our advice to MMDAs is that the law is clear, that you produce evidence of your expenditure and necessary documents to auditors for verification. If you fail, you have 30 days within which to submit your documents before AG’s report is forwarded to Parliament.
“Next time round, we will not come here and be asking about documents, we will demand from you, refund of the amount. It’s not our duty to be taking documents at the committee level. You must do the right thing,” Mr Avedzi said.
He said that, institutions might engage in genuine transactions, but, because they failed to satisfy auditing regulations, they would be compelled to appear before the committee.
A member of PAC and also MP for Buem, Kofi Adams, wondered why STMA did not inform auditors about the state of the public toilet, and allowed records of franchise to remain in their books with outstanding GH¢24,338.
“You should have explained to the auditors at the time of assessment. You allowed it to be captured and that is causing the confusion,” he remarked.
Nana Adjei Boateng asked “How did the auditors know about these records?” adding that “the confusion started from you because you captured the said toilets in your budget.”
The auditors explained to PAC that they conducted observations on sites, held meetings with management, before reports were forwarded to Parliament.
The Vice Chairman, PAC, Mr Samuel Atta-Mills, noted STMA recorded an IGF of GH¢9.5 million and wondered why it could not account for GH¢24,000, stressing “You are encouraging open defecation.”
FROM CLEMENT ADZEI BOYE, TAKORADI