Financial Irregularities Cost Ghana Over GH₵5 Billion in 2018

Financial infractions in the various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) cost the country in excess of GHS5.1 billion in 2018, the highest since 2014, according to the Auditor-General’s 2018 report.

Poor financial disciple permeates all the MDAs, a situation that has resulted in the huge leakage of funds from the country’s public purse, the annual report on Public Accounts of Ghana (PAG) as of 31 December 2018 said.

The Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, in his comments, said: “I will investigate these further and if possible, hold the officials accountable by way of disallowing the items of expenditure and surcharge”

Tax irregularities – GHS4,788,284,799.00

The report said tax irregularities contributed to 92.15% of the total financial infractions reported.

Included in the tax irregularity was GHS33,675,044 from 10 Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) who failed to pay taxes on petroleum products lifted at the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) between November 2016 and November 2017.

“These irregularities could be attributed mainly to the failure on the part of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to collect tax revenues and also apply measures and sanctions against defaulters,” the report lamented.

Cash irregularities – GHS388,925,019.94

Total cash irregularities noted during the period amounted to GHS388,925,019.94, which represented 7.48% of the total irregularities.

Included in the total cash irregularity of GHS388,925,019.94 was an amount of GHS312,235,683 disbursed from the General Refund Account of GRA for non-tax refund activities.

Outstanding loans/advances – GHS594,889

For instance, GHS191,000 in terms of advances was to granted some staff of Tepa Nursing and Midwifery Training College but remained unrecovered.

The A-G recommended that the respective institutions recover the outstanding loans/advances from the affected staff.

Payroll irregularities – GHS1,875,347

Payroll irregularities amounting to GHS1,875,347 was recorded during the period reviewed. Included in the total payroll irregularity was GHS792,571 paid to 91 separated staff between January 2011 and October 2018 at the Kibi, Tafo and Koforidua treasuries. This was due mainly to payments of unearned salaries to separated staff as a result of delays in deleting their names from the payroll as well as delays in transferring unclaimed pensions and salaries to Government chest by the banks.

Stores/Procurement irregularities – GHS6,823,337

Stores and procurement irregularities noted during the period amounted to GHS6,823,337. Included in this irregularity was GHS3,539,858 relating to value books printed by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) on behalf of MDAs, most of which were not collected for use.

This irregularity was due mainly to the absence of effective collaboration between CAGD and the MDAs regarding the printing and management of value books resulting in such wasteful expenditure.

The irregularity was also due to lack of commitment on the part of entity heads to ensure compliance with established internal control measures, administrative rules and legislation governing the procurement process.

Rent irregularities – GHS3,941,756

The total rent irregularity was GHS3,941,756. Included in the rent irregularity was GHS3,426,423 due from 39 tenants of the UNDP flats, Cantonments, who defaulted in the payment of rent between 2015 and 2017. The irregularity was due mainly to the absence of adequate data on occupants and non-availability of tenancy agreements as well as the failure of the Estate officer at the Ministry of Works and Housing to ensure that tenants pay their rents.

Contract irregularities – GHS5,598,252

The total contract irregularities reported was GHS5,598,252.00. Included in the total contract irregularities was GHS4,890,000 which was paid to Kroll Associates in 2017 by the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to recover government assets in the possession of private individuals. However, MoF could not provide any evidence of work done by Kroll Associates during the period of the audit.