Tuesday, 18 June

'Unlawful' Covid expenditures should've been 'disallowed', people 'surcharged' – Domelevo puzzled by A-G report's silence on 3 of 9 pandemic revenue sources

Daniel Yaw Domelevo

Ousted Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo has wondered why the special audit report special audit report on the Government of Ghana's Covid-19 transactions for the period of March 2020 to June 2022, was silent on three of the total of nine funding sources for the country’s fight against the pandemic.

In the report, the Auditor-General said records on Covid-19 funds at the Ministry of Finance, Controller and Accountant-General and Ministry of Health indicated that the Ministry of Finance mobilised a total amount of GH¢19,112,318,205.12 in 2020 to  mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The records, according to the report, showed that an amount of GH¢1,978,551,137.46 was mobilised in 2021 and GH¢753,319,842.66 (up to June 2022) to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme and the implementation of the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan. 

In all, the report said a total amount of GH¢21,844,189,185.24 was mobilised to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.

We noted that the amount of GH¢21,844,189,185.24 was sourced from the Contingency Fund, the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Union (EU) and the sale of BOG-COVID-19 Bonds for the 2020, 2021 and 2022 Fiscal Years to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme and implementation of the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan as well as Budgetary Support. 

Commenting on the audit findings, however, Mr Domelevo, whose 167-day forced leave on the orders of President Nana Akufo-Addo has been determined as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, told Kwabena Bobie Ansah on Accra100.5FM's Citizen Show on Wednesday, 31 May 2023, that the covid report said "there were nine sources but they commented on only six, so, I wondered what happened to the other three". 

"I asked myself whether they had disbursed those funds among themselves or everything was alright with those", he noted. 

In his view, the "report should have told us whether everything was OK with the other three and, therefore, the silence on them or whether they were not given the chance to look into it".

The report also pointed out some anomalies and infractions.

For instance, it noted that the Ministry of Health, on behalf of Government of Ghana, paid an amount of US$120,192,379.80 to UNICEF/AVAT for the supply of vaccines. "However, 5,109,600.00 doses of vaccines valued at US$38,322,000.00 

were supplied to the National Cold Room leaving a difference of US$81,870,379.80 with UNICEF/AVAT. We recommended that the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health should renegotiate with UNICEF/AVAT to recover the outstanding amount".

Also, the report said the ministry, "without the approval of the Central Tender Review Committee, increased the cost of five contracts with total contract sum of GH¢24,256,500.00 by GH¢4,017,000.00 through variation orders. We recommended that the Chief Director should seek retroactive approval to avoid disallowance of such variation amount".

On such infractions, Mr Domelevo said: "I thought the Auditor-General should have disallowed and surcharged some people on some of the unlawful expenditures made and retrieve those money for the state".

Source: Classfmonline.com