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Auditor General finds 25 financial irregularities at Cape Coast varsity

…As total infractions hit GHC5.46bn at end of 2019

The Auditor General has discovered that 25 instances of financial irregularity took place at the University of Cape Coast and its various colleges and subsidiaries as at the end of 31st December, 2019. 

Corruption Watch’s tabulation of the amount of individual irregularities shows that the infractions involve a total of GHC88,289,417.16. In addition, the amount constitutes 49.09% of irregularities recorded for institutions under the ministry of education. 

According to the Auditor General, “…the Vice Chancellor, Professor Ghartey Ampiah entered into a 10 year Build, Own, Operate and Transfer Agreement with KLEOS UK Ltd for the provision of information and communication technology (ICT) services at a cost of $300,000.00 per year totalling $3,000,000.00 for the contract period without seeking approval from the University Council, the Minister of Education and Public Procurement before committing the University to such financial obligation.” 

The “contract signed by the Vice Chancellor was only witnessed by the Director of ICT services Dr. Regina Gyampoh-Vidogah. Consequently, the Auditor General recommended that “the Vice Chancellor should submit the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer Agreement (BOOT) with KLEOS UK Ltd to the University Council, Minister of Education and Public Procurement Authority for approval, failing which the sanctions in section 92 (1) of the Public Procurement Act shall be applied.”

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CSOs urge Supreme Court to deal with two suits

…Encourage Domelevo to go to CHRAJ

The Coalition of Civil Society Organisations Against Corruption has requested the Supreme Court of Ghana to determine two cases pending before it on the constitutionality of the Auditor General’s forced ‘accumulated leave’ by President Akufo-Addo.

The group contends that the crux of the issues raised in the two suits are relevant regardless of the current state of affairs; that is the forced retirement of Auditor General Daniel Yaw Domelevo. 

“The suits border on the broader issues of whether or not a President could exercise administrative authority over Independent Constitutional Bodies (ICBs). Therefore, it is important for the Supreme Court to deal with these suits expeditiously to prevent any such actions by a future President,” said Dr. Kojo Pumpuni Asante, Director, Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana).

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Dissolved GIJ secretary withdraws GHC 50,000 from students accounts as prez stashes GHC 30,000

Information available to YTimes indicates that the defunct GIJ SRC Executive, led by the interim President, Alimatu Quaye, has withdrawn GH¢50, 000 from the SRC Account to allegedly pay for the cost of providing free data for the student body.

However, payment for the data was not made but only a portion of the amount, GH¢20, 000 has been re-deposited into the student account.

This move happened on Friday, 12th February 2020 barely 24 hours after Management of the Institute issued a directive that the appointed interim executive should desist from carrying themselves as the legitimate Executive Committee of the GIJ SRC. The directive was given because, according to management the current leadership were not properly inducted into office.

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PPA, KNUST, UPSA, Graphic, others lead list of internal audit lawbreakers

Corruption Watch has discovered that a high number of regulatory bodies and academic institutions have broken the law requiring them to file annual internal audit plans and quarterly internal audit reports.

A total of 15 regulatory bodies and 12 academic institutions stand accused for defaulting in the submission of required reports as at the end of December 2020. The Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the State Interest and Governance Authority (SIGA), Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) and University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), Graphic Communications Group Limited are among high profile regulatory,  academic and state institutions, which defaulted in the submission of reports to the Internal Audit Agency (IAA).

The Internal Audit Agency and its staff are supposed to carry out audits before, during and after spending. The expectation, therefore, is that they are in a better position to ‘catch’ the thief before or during the ‘stealing’, making it easier to recover stolen public funds.

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Special Prosecutor resignation furore at a glance

This country set up the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) with the hope that it can deal with grand corruption of politically exposed persons; and, for a long time we waited for the OSP to bite. Therefore, it was refreshing when Mr Amidu released the report of an analysis of the risk of corruption in the Agyapa Minerals Royalties transaction. 

It was instructive because it was the first time that an independent anti-corruption agency established by any government in Ghana had undertaken an analysis of the risk of corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment of the processes leading up to the approval by parliament of public agreements as part of its statutory mandate.

Alas! The celebration lasted for only two weeks. On Monday, 16th November 2020, Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu resigned from his post as Special Prosecutor. On Tuesday, President Akufo-Addo, through Chief of Staff Hon. Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, wrote back to Mr Amidu to accept his resignation. 

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Assemblies’ Common Fund rip-off rises to GH¢124.82 million

Some officials of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies mismanaged funds and resources of their assemblies to a financial value of approximately GH¢124.82 million in 2019, the Auditor-General has revealed.

The financial irregularities for 2019 represent a 3.53% rise from the 2018 figure of approximately GH¢120.56 million. In nominal terms, the increase is approximately GH¢4.2m. 

“The findings once again showed lack of commitment on the part of the management of Assemblies in the implementation and enforcement of my audit recommendations towards mitigating infringements of the laws. I also attributed the situation to non-imposition of sanctions to minimise the violations,” says the Auditor-General in a letter transmitting his latest report to the Speaker of Parliament.

Comparative irregularities from 2015 to 2019 financial years
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Internal Audit Agency Swoops on MDAs

According to Mrs Juliet Aboagye-Wiafe, President of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Ghana, the work of internal auditors facilitate good corporate governance and compliance. These in turn ‘provide strong inputs for organisational or business sustainability and prevent corporate scandals, fraud and failures.’

Mrs Aboagye-Wiafe reportedly said this at the IIA’s 2019 Annual National Internal Audit and Governance Conference.

In June 2019, Auditor-General Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo also stated that it is better to prevent corruption. Therefore, making internal auditors independent is one of the control mechanisms that government can put in place to prevent corruption. He even suggested to the Presidency to consider the inclusion of the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) in Government’s Economic Management Team to help control expenditure within certain strategic sectors.  He took the view that internal auditors would provide timely information on lapses within the Public Financial Management system to enable the E. M. T. take judicious measures to address identified inefficiencies.

In spite of these authorities speaking favourably on internal auditors, Corruption Watch has come across cases from its investigations in which some internal auditors have allegedly been professionally abused and harassed for refusing to be compromised.

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The Better Corruption Solution: Examining anti-corruption measures in 2020 NDC & NPP Manifestos

In December 2018, the civil society fraternity under the auspices of Corruption Watch raised concerns about “the creeping normalization of corruption among the populace” pointing out that it poses a threat to development. The civil society actors pointed to several indices to drum home the point that Ghana has stagnated in its fight against corruption for the last decade or so.

For purposes of this discussion and in order to balance the scale for the NPP and NDC, we can examine indices for the eight-year period 2013-2020.

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Investigate GHC3.6m Additional Feeding Cost of BECE Free Hotmeals – Akufo-Addo Urged

Mr. Edem Senanu, Co- Chair of the Citizens Movement Against Corruption, has called on President Akufo Addo to institute an immediate investigation into the discrepancies in the number of BECE candidates who have benefited from the free hot meals, discrepancies which raise the cost of the free meals by  about 3.6 million Ghana Cedis.

The disparities in the figures relate to a difference of 52,295 BECE candidates between the figure of 584,000 BECE candidates announced by President Akufo-Addo and 531,705 BECE candidates published by the West Africa Education Council (WAEC).

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Corruption Watch: Court registrar fingered in payment diversion

Fred Asiamah revealed there is a full documentary which will soon be aired as well as a petition to the judicial service to resolve such issues.

Corruption Watch has uncovered graft at the Ada Magistrate Court in the Greater Accra Region where some court officials are allegedly diverting and pocketing payments meant for the court.

Frederick Asiamah, a lead investigator at Corruption Watch, who has interacted with a number of victims says he found that the practice had gone on for years, especially at the court registrar’s office.

Giving the details of the investigative piece on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem Friday, Mr Asiamah said he was yet to get any feedback from the registrar, Nana Akwasi Konadu despite numerous text messages and phones calls to him.

Narrating her story on the Segment, Mamle, one of the people who has fallen victim to the ‘take-and-pocket’ scandal said a sum of GHC 7,500 she had paid was delayed for over nine months before part of it was released to the rightful owner.

Another person, Regina Sabbah, a 47-year-old trader and a resident of Bedeku in the Ada East District said since September 2018, she had been expecting to receive GHC 6,500 from the Ada District Court, an amount paid to the court by one Ebenezer Sotti.

The Ada District Court had ordered Ebenezer Sotti to refund the GHC 6,500 to Ms Sabbah while he was standing trial for reselling a piece of land he had earlier sold to her.

So, when in April 2019, court registrar Nana Kwasi Konadu told Ms Sabbah that he handled t GHC 3,300 received from Mr Sotti, Regina assumed the balance of GHC 3,200 was yet to be paid.

To Ms Sabbah’s surprise, Ebenezer Sotti told the court in September 2019 upon being re-arrested that he had made a full payment to the court registrar Nana Kwasi Konadu, last year.

Meanwhile, Mr Sotti has recounted to Corruption Watch that he was denied receipts after initial and final payments.

Lawyer Martin Kpebu, a Private Legal practitioner commenting on the issue, has urged the Judicial Service to investigate the issue to the latter.

“I know the Judicial Service will not be happy with this development and will begin to probe so the media must also conduct follow-ups on the issue,” he urged.

Rule 5 (G) of the Code of Ethics for Employees of the Judicial Service of Ghana states that “an employee of the Judicial Service shall obey all lawful instruction regarding the Judicial Service in the execution of his work.”

Therefore, disregarding lawful instructions laid down by the Service means working outside the rules and laws guiding the Service and amounts to unprofessional conduct and a breach of the code.

Fred Asiamah revealed there is a full documentary which will soon be aired as well as a petition to the Judicial Service to resolve such issues.