Auditor General’s Covid-19 report: ‘We need to see prosecution’ – Theo Acheampong

An Economist, Dr Theo Acheampong has called on the government to start prosecuting persons who misappropriated Covid-19 funds as stated in the recent Auditor General’s report.

Speaking on Newsfile, on Saturday, he said that the Auditor General does not have the power to prosecute perpetrators who misapplied funds and thus other institutions like the Attorney General and Office of the Special Prosecutor must take up the mantle.

“It is very clear that a number of these funds, whether it is for budgetary support or direct Covid interventions, it is irrelevant. What is clear here is some of those money have been wasted and possibly stolen, and we need to see prosecution, we have to get to the bottom of the matter,” Dr Acheampong said.

Dr Acheampong added that “within the remit of the Auditor General, ultimately they do not have prosecutorial power, so then it goes to other organs of the state, the Attorney General, the Special Prosecutor and other things. We need to see some prosecutions after the investigations have been fully exhausted.”

His comment comes after the Auditor-General earlier in the week released a report on the Covid-19 expenditure.

The report revealed some infractions in the government’s expenditure for Covid-19 from March 2020 to June 2022.

Some of the infractions that were uncovered include; paying a total of US$607,419.02 out of US$4,049,460.12 for the purchase of 26 ambulances that were never delivered, paying unapproved GH₵151,500 by the Information Ministry to its own staff as Covid insurance, and paying for $80 million worth of vaccines by the government that was never delivered, amongst others.

Reacting to the report, Dr Acheampong said that the report shows that government institutions are not operating as they should.

“Fundamentally we have a problem, we are sidestepping the laws, the Public Financial Management Act, and everybody is doing their own thing. It looks as though the institutions are not on top of their game, so we just keep pouring money into a leaking bucket.”

“So, we need to strengthen the institutions, the governance. We also need to get the Auditor General to start implementing surcharge and disallowances.”

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