District Assemblies have been given until the end of September 2019 to implement recommendations in the 2018 Auditor-General’s (AudG) report or face the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
Local Government and Rural Development Minister, Alima Mahama said Regional Ministers have been tasked to ensure that the necessary actions, as stated by the Auditor-General, are taken within the given time frame.
“I am not happy that it [financial irregularities] has gone up so high and we are taking action. I have already sent letters to all the District Assemblies and their Regional Ministers to follow up and ensure that they implement the recommendations of the Auditor-General’s report.
“If they don’t take those actions, we would have to go to Public Accounts Committee,” she told Joy News’ Evans Mensah on PM Express.
In a report for the financial year ended December 31, 2018, the Auditor-General found ¢120 million financial irregularities made by the various District Assemblies in the country. An increase from the previous year which was ¢40 million.
The report found among other things while the total income received by the 240 Assemblies amounted to ¢1,342,749,020.59, ineffective collection strategies, absence of comprehensive records on properties and businesses constituted major infractions.
The report indicated that cash irregularities noted during the period amounted to ¢26,397,410.07. These irregularities comprised of funds embezzled, unaccounted and uncollected revenues, uncollected funds with officials and unsubstantiated payments.
For instance, the report revealed that an officer of the Tumu Urban Council collected revenue of ¢40,056.00 but accounted for only ¢9,720.00 to the Assembly. As at the time of the audit, the officer had not accounted for the balance of GH¢30,336.00.
The findings and recommendations of the report were discussed with the key personnel involved and communicated in individual management letters and annual audit reports for their comments and necessary action.
Some Assemblies responded to the Auditor-General but other have yet to.
Hajia Mahama said if the Assemblies refuse to comply by September 30, sanctions will be applied.
“If you are supposed to pay something, and you do not part of your salary will be deducted,” she said adding that suspensions and interdictions will also be carried out if need be.
She stressed on her readiness to crack the whip on noncomplying Assemblies.