Gov't 'fights' Auditor-General finding of '$1m payment for no work done'

Gov't 'fights' Auditor-General finding of '$1m payment for no work done'
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com
Date: 18-09-2019 Time: 02:09:30:pm

The Finance Ministry will later this week serve notice to the Auditor General, that it intends to challenge an audit finding to the effect that payment of $1 million to Kroll and Associate was effected without evidence of work.

The said finding was published in the Auditor General’s report on the account of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the period ending December 31, 2018.

According to the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Report itself concedes that information on the transaction was requested from the Ministry by the Auditors.

“The Finance Ministry, in turn, reported that it will have to get details from the office of the Senior Minister which was the appropriate office that executed the transaction.

“However, prior to furnishing the Audit team with a report, the Audit was completed and a report published to the effect that there was no evidence of work for the payment of the $1 million,” he told journalists at a press conference in Accra. 

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the Auditor General is further reported to have gone public and announced this finding to the mass media as though it is a concluded non-negotiable fact.

“The Constitutional practice is that the report is submitted to Parliament and affected MDAs invited to respond,” the Ofoase Ayeribi MP said.

He said the Ministry believes that at least if this constitutional path was followed, it would have had the opportunity to respond at the next legally appropriate forum and explain as follows:

I. The transaction is properly backed by an agreement that took effect on February 2, 2017, pursuant to a letter of intent of 2nd, February signed by the Government of Ghana. This letter of intent was further included in an agreement dated September 29, 2019.

II. Additionally, the office of the Senior Minister responded to the MOF query to the effect that since September 2017, Kroll has been working with the GOG to undertake extensive and thorough investigations of allegations of wrongdoing, and providing evidence of assets recoveries for possible prosecution.” 

The Information Minister said the finding to the effect that there is no contract or that there is an irregularity in the documentation that no work has been done is wrong.

“Ordinarily, the Finance Ministry would have wanted to go to parliament and explain itself. However, since Auditor General has gone public, MOF is obliged to also explain to the public even before parliament to cure that wrong impression,” he stated.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah encourages all to follow due process as the transaction is backed by a well-chronicled agreement. 

“There is evidence of work done. There are no irregularities in the documentation. The Finance Ministry will address all these properly with the necessary documents,” he added.