Saturday, 13 July

I ordered A-G to audit Covid expenditures – Akufo-Addo

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo made it "clear" that the Covid-19 expenditures, which he said were "essentially unplanned", have been subjected, "at my instigation, to audit by the Auditor-General, and are going through parliamentary processes". In his last Covid update on Sunday, 28 May 2023, the president said: "We all deserve to be reassured that the crisis was not used as a cover for corrupt practices".

He also mentioned that the COVID Health Recovery Levy that was introduced "to help fill some of the expenditure holes, might not be the most popular tax, but I entreat all of you to bear with us".

He said the Covid Trust Fund has performed an "invaluable service, and with these developments, has reached the end of its mandate".

He thanked the trustees, donors and contributors to the fund.


¢254k ‘missing’ from Covid-19 Private Sector Fund – 2021 A-G’s report

In August last year, the A-G's 2021 report said some GH¢254,203.00 of money that accrued to the Ghana Covid-19 Private Fund could not be accounted for.

Contrary to Regulation 78 (1) (a) (b) of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 (L.I. 2378), the Auditor-General said: “Our vouching disclosed that out of GH¢10,257,360 paid via payment voucher number 0590507 dated 16 June 2020 to the Ghana Covid-19 Private Sector Fund, a private organisation for the procurement of medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE), only GH¢10,003,157 had been accounted for with an outstanding amount of GH¢254,203.00 not accounted for as of 31 December 2020”. 

“We recommended that the management should ensure that the Covid -19 Private Sector Fund account for the total amount of GH¢254,203.00, failing which the total amount of GH¢254,203.00 should be recovered from the Covid-19 Private Sector Fund and same paid to COVID-19 National Trust Fund account”, the report said.

It also noted that the Covid-19 National Trust Fund received total donations amounting to GH¢67,980,222.58 made up of GH¢57,134,093.58 cash and GH¢10,846,129.00 worth of donations in kind. 

Out of the GH¢57,134,093.58 cash donations received, a total amount of GH¢37,252,656.90 had been spent on operations and disbursement to 13 organisations and institutions to fight against Covid-19 with the balance of GH¢19,881,436.68 lodged in five bank accounts of the Trust Fund. 

“We urged the management to ensure that all donations, both cash and non-cash, are distributed to the appropriate individuals, organisations and institutions to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic”, the report said. 

Also, it observed that contrary to Section 52 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), “our audit disclosed that DDP Outdoor Limited donated 119 billboards and advertising spaces located at various places valued at GH¢2,621,214.06 for promoting, advertising and communicating to the general public on the awareness of the corona virus and its preventive measures, but the billboards and advertising spaces were not put to use as of 31 December 2020”. 

“We recommended that the management should ensure that the donated billboards should be put to use”.


Akufo-Addo used our $430m COVID money well; 'we don't feel it wasn't properly spent' – WB

In September of that same year, the World Bank said it was satisfied with how the government of Ghana expended some $430 million the Bretton Woods institution advanced to the cocoa-producing West African country to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bank’s Country Director for Ghana, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, Mr Pierre Frank Laporte, told Accra-based TV3 in an interview: “We know each and every dollar that is spent and accounted for.”

“We have done audits”, he added.

He noted: “There are always a few things here and there and some documentation that needs to be followed, but largely speaking, we are very satisfied that our resources were spent in line with the procurement requirements that existed.”

“All the funds for COVID were not spent”, Mr Laporte pointed out.

“There were immediate things to be spent on, but there was also construction and procurement of equipment. We don’t feel that our resources have not been properly spent,” he explained.

Apart from the $430 million, the World Bank also advanced an additional $130 million to Ghana for the purchase of vaccines.