Ghana’s Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, has surcharged Senior Minister Yaw Osafo-Maafo over a $1-million payment his office supervised in making to private firm Kroll and Associates, allegedly for no work done.
Mr Domelevo told Accra-based Joy FM that Mr Osafo-Maafo has 60 days to challenge the surcharge in court.
A few weeks ago, Mr Domelevo revealed exclusively to Class91.3FM in an interview on ‘State of The Nation’ hosted by Blessed Sogah that he would surcharge Mr Osafo-Maafo in the second week of October 2019 if the former Finance Minister failed to provide evidence of actual work done by Kroll and Associates, which the government, through the Finance Ministry, paid US$1 million.
The government, through Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, disputed the claims of the A-G in his 2018 report, which revealed that the Finance Ministry paid the amount to Kroll and Associates for the purpose of asset recovery even though the task was not carried out.
At a press briefing on the matter, Mr Nkrumah challenged the A-G’s claims and stated that prior to furnishing the audit team with a response, the report was already out there.
However, the A-G said he gave the Ministry of Finance ample time to submit the necessary documents to defend the payment but to no avail.
He revealed that he had notified the Senior Minister of the development and was soon to take action against those involved.
“I have actually given them another opportunity. On the 24th of September, I wrote to the Senior Minister and some officials of the Ministry of Finance notifying them of my intention to disallow the expenditure and surcharge them. So, I have given the Senior Minister and the officials two weeks. I think one week is gone and it is left with one week. If they don’t bring the evidence [of work done], my certificate will arrive in front of the Senior Minister. I will surcharge him,” Mr Domelovo said in the interview with Blessed Sogah.
Mr Domelevo explained that after the Audit Service completed its work, the Ministry of Finance failed to submit its response and comments within the 30-day period stipulated in the regulations governing the activities of the Audit Service.
“Our management letter, which went to the Ministry of Finance was dated 1st of March 2019. So, 30 days should be when? Maximum 1st of April [but] we waited for the Ministry of Finance for the whole of April to pass, they didn’t respond. We waited till the whole of May…,” he stated.
He said he called the Chief Director at the Ministry of Finance in June to notify him that he was going to issue his official report before doing so.
So, it was strange, Mr Domelevo said, for Mr Oppong Nkrumah to accuse the Audit Service of not complying with laid-down procedures.
“Interestingly, after I finished issuing my report to Parliament and the report became public, I’m hearing that the Minister of Information is saying that if we had waited, they would have brought the evidence to Parliament. Where did he find that in the laws of Ghana?” Mr Domelevo questioned.
According to Mr Domelevo, even though Mr Oppong Nkrumah has suggested that the Ministry of Finance has the evidence of work done, “As we sit today, [Friday, 4 October 2019], I have still not received those evidence from the government…Maybe they have submitted it to another office [but] not my office”.
Subsequently, Mr Osafo-Maafo responded to the Auditor-General saying: “Proofs of work done by Kroll and Associates are contained in their respective reports submitted to the office of the Senior Minister, COCOBOD, Bank of Ghana and Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO). The Consultancy services with Kroll [are] ongoing and expected to continue for a period of four years”.
The letter also revealed that “one of Kroll’s reports for work done was in respect of LITHOvit agro-chemicals supplied by Seidu Agongo to COCOBOD for $106,541,589.82 which is now the subject of a case in the High Court”.
“The work done by Kroll, in this case, included Bank Analysis and Supplier Overview which disclosed that 90% of the revenue Seidu Agongo earned from COCOBOD was from agrochemicals sales amounting to $106,541,589.82 which has turned out to be worthless”, the Senior Minister added.