A report released by the Auditor General’s Department suggests that Ghana lost over GHS12.8 billion due to infractions and other irregularities committed by Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs in the year 2020.
Some of the infractions included contract irregularities, tax irregularities, procurement irregularities, payroll irregularities, cash irregularities, challenges retrieving loans from debtors among others.
The report notes that outstanding debts and challenges in retrieving loans from debtors accounted for a chunk of the irregularities perpetrated by the statutory institutions, GHS10 billion.
This was followed by cash irregularities which accounted for over GHS1.8 billion and procurement irregularities, GHS848 million.
Contract irregularities also accounted for GHS89.8 million out of the total sum of GHS12.8 billion.
“The total irregularities stood at GH¢12,856,172,626 which included US$918,285,771.95 converted into Cedis at the prevailing exchange rate of GH¢5.7602 to the US$1 as at 31 December 2020, and €647,815.00 converted into Cedis at the prevailing exchange rate of GHS7.0643 to €1 as at 31 December 2020 and 464, 963.13 converted into Cedis at the prevailing exchange rate of GHS7.8742 to £1 as at 31 December 2020.”
“The total irregularities figure of GH¢718,085,208 for 2016 increased to GH¢12,002,880,339 in 2017. The irregularities declined by GH¢8,995,621,415 in 2018 to GH¢3,007,258,924. However, the total irregularities increased by 81.8% from the 2018 figure of GH¢3,007,258,924 to GH¢5,468,398,431 in 2019. During the period ending 31 December 2020 the total irregularities recorded a 135% or GH¢7,387,774,195 rise from GH¢5,468,334,006 in 2019 total irregularities figure to GH¢12,856,172,626 in 2020. This was occasioned mainly by a surge of GH¢5,207,442,576 or 107% in outstanding debtors/loans/recoverable component of the total irregularities for the period ending 31 December 2020,” the report added.
On outstanding loans/debtors, the Auditor General among other things recommended that the Management of Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions should strictly adhere to rules and regulations with regard to debts management.
“They should also put in place proper policies for the management of loans and other receivables, as well as ensuring that loans and debts are repaid on due dates to avoid or minimise the occurrence of bad debts.”
On cash irregularities which have to do with misapplication of funds, non-retirement of imprest, payments not authenticated, payment of Board Allowances to Council Members without Ministerial approval, cash locked up in non-performing investments, the Auditor General recommended the following:
“I, therefore, urged the Managements of the Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions to strengthen supervisory controls over their finance officers, and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921). I also recommended the authentication of all payment vouchers, prompt payment to bank and full retirement of accountable imprest on due dates.”