The delay in conducting a comprehensive audit on expenditures related to Ghana’s Covid-19 management is fueling a perception of embezzlement in the country, according to the Covid-19 Transparency and Accountability Project (CTAP) report by non-governmental organisation, BudgIT Ghana.

“We need a forensic audit into the covid-19 expenses to ensure that the funds were not misappropriated as being alleged in the public domain. This will engender confidence in the government and boost credibility in the eyes of development partners,” Country Director of BudgIT, Ray Nkoom said during the launch of the report.

 The report “Transparency and Accountability during Covid-19 Outbreak in Ghana” tracks government spending of funds drawn through loans and grants to mitigate the effects of the pandemic on lives and livelihoods.

Ghana has since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic received billions of dollars from development partners and institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, Bank of Ghana, among others which aided its management of the pandemic.

According to the report, much of the spending occurred through expedited processes due to the nature of the pandemic and as a result, the risks of corruption, mismanagement and waste were heightened.

While the country signed up to processes such as open contracting and beneficial ownership in accessing the funds, the report shows much has not been done to ensure transparency and accountability in the expenditure.

The report recognises that the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, had appeared before parliament to give details of pandemic-related expenditure, but still requires forensic audit to ensure full disclosure.

“We found that commitments under the IMF’s Rapid Financial Loan Instrument to publish procurement plans, notices, and awards related to the emergency response were largely not complied with,” the report said.

“Several contracts for the supply of food and medical products and services were awarded at the height of the pandemic, but details about a few could be found on the government’s electronic procurement platform created to facilitate public procurement processes and reduce human involvement which breeds corruption”, it added.