A total amount of ¢12.85 billion irregularities equivalent of $918.28 million were committed between 2016 and 2020 by public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions.
This is a revelation by the 2020 Auditor General Report.
According to the report, the irregularities include outstanding debtors, cash irregularities, payroll irregularities, tax irregularities, procurement irregularities, stores irregularities and contract irregularities.
From the report, the total irregularities figure of ¢718.08 million in 2016 increased to ¢12.002 billion in 2017. The irregularities declined by ¢8.99 billion in 2018 to ¢3.007 billion.
However, the total irregularities increased by 81.8% from the 2018 figure of ¢3.007 billion to ¢5.46 billion in 2019.
During the period ending 31st December, 2020, the total irregularities recorded a 135% or ¢7.387 billion rise from ¢5.468 billion in 2019 to GH¢12.85 billion in 2020.
This was occasioned mainly by a surge of GH¢5.207 billion or 107% in outstanding debtors/loans/recoverable component of the total irregularities for the period ending 31st December 2020.
Outstanding Debts/ Loans Recoverable – GH¢10.067bn
The Auditor General Report said these irregularities represent trade debtors, staff debtors and outstanding loans.
Included in the figure is an amount of ¢5.487 billion due from customers for power supplies in respect of Forex Power Sales, Local Power Sales, Mines Power Sales, Other Local Power Sales, Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies Power Sales, and other Power Related Recoverables as at 31 December 2019.
The Auditor General Report further said the absence of effective debt collection policies, non-existence of credit controls to recover the debts and management’s indifferent posture towards loan recovery contributed significantly to these anomalous conditions.
Also, improper maintenance of records on debtors, the absence of debtors’ ageing analyses, non-documentation of agreements stipulating the terms and conditions of loans, failure to ensure that loans are repaid and management’s non-compliance with rules and regulations accounted for these irregularities.
The Auditor General recommended that Management of Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions should strictly adhere to rules and regulations with regards to debts management.
Cash Irregularities – GH¢1.80bn
The report said cash irregularities related to the misapplication of funds, nonretirement of imprest, payments not authenticated, payment of board allowances to council members without ministerial approval, cash locked up in non-performing investments.
Out of the total figure of GH¢1.80 billion pof cash irregularities, GH¢442.73 million represented cash locked up in non-performing investment by SSNIT.
These occurred as a result of poor oversight responsibility and nonexistent controls. Other contributory factors were finance officers’ failure to properly file and keep records, management’s failure to ensure the security and safety of vital documents, non-maintenance of returned cheque registers, among others.
The report urged the Managements of the Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions to strengthen supervisory controls over their finance officers, and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921).
It also recommended the authentication of all payment vouchers, prompt payment to bank and full retirement of accountable imprest on due dates.
Procurement Irregularities – ¢846.13m
These irregularities the report said occurred as a result of managements’ non-compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2003, (Act 663).
Out of the total irregularities, $39 million (¢224.64 million) represented award of contract without following due processes by management of Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST).
The report once again recommended that managements of the various Institutions should undertake procurement transactions strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act as amended.
Overall, the Auditor General Report urged the appointing authorities to ensure that Board of Directors are constituted promptly for organisations having none. The absence of Governing Boards it said tends to delay the signing of the financial statements resulting in avoidable delays.
Also, it said the operational results and financial positions of the Public Corporations and other Statutory Institutions during the period under review, could have been healthier if there had been effective supervision of schedule officers.