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Auditor General indicts Ghana’s Washington Mission officer over “missing” visa fees

…Ex-Tourism Minister, MP Queenstar Pokuah Sawyerr, Free SHS Secretariat also accused 

A new report of the Auditor-General shows that grand corruption and waste of public funds is not going away.  

Among a raft of findings is the indictment of the Honorary Consul General at Ghana’s Washington Mission and Houston Consulate for not being able to account for visa fees totalling US$354,760.00 (or two million cedis at prevailing exchange rates).

The Free SHS Secretariat is also accused of misapplying more than nineteen (19) million cedis of its allocations.

In addition, the Auditor-General says Ex-Tourism Minister Catherine Afeku is keeping three official vehicles despite leaving office.

MP Queenstar Pokuah Sawyerr is accused of spending GH¢39,000.00 of her MP allocation on non-existent works.

These are contained in the “Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana: Ministries, Departments and other Agencies for the year ended 31 December, 2020.”

The Office of the Auditor-General, under the hand of Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, Acting Auditor-General transmitted this report to the Speaker of Parliament on 11 June, 2021. 

The big picture

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Corruption Watch Breakdown of ‘Auditor General’s Report on Public Accounts’

Introduction 

The document we focusing on is the “Report of the Auditor-General on the Public  Accounts of Ghana: Ministries, Departments and other Agencies for the year  ended 31 December, 2020.” 

The Office of the Auditor-General, under the hand of Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, Acting Auditor-General transmitted this report to the Speaker of Parliament on 11  June, 2021.  

The report states that when the Auditor-General and his team set out to Audit  accounts of MDAs to ascertain the state of their accounts at the close of the year  2020, they were guided by certain objectives.  

They set out to determine whether: 

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Fiscal Decentralisation: Domelevo calls for district/regional budgets

Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, a former Auditor-General, has advocated the creation of district and regional budgets as part of efforts to ensure effective fiscal decentralisation.

That, he said, would ensure each district and region received its fair share of the national cake.

“I think over-centralisation is the major contributor to the corruption that we have in our country,” Mr Domelevo said in a virtual presentation at the maiden Domelevo Accountability Annual Lectures held in Accra.

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Government told to strictly demand asset declaration from officials

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has underscored the need to demand a strict and explicit asset declaration from government officials before and after their service to the Nation.

It said the feasible move would help hold the officials accountable, make them transparent, strengthen the asset declaration law and in that trail curtail the surge of corruption in the Country.

Mr. Bright Sowu, the head of programmes at GACC underscored the need for the government to explicitly demand verification monitoring, publication of assets and sanctioning where any false information was given.

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Procurement is the number one corruption risks – OCP

Madam Andie Okon, a Community Capacity Building Manager of Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), says procurement is the number one of all corruption risks with 57 per cent of foreign cases of bribery attributed to public contracts.

She, therefore, called for Open Contracting Data Standards in such engagements to curb corruption.

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CID begins investigations into alleged corruption in school feeding in Ashanti Region

The Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has commenced investigations into an alleged corruption in the school feeding program in the Ashanti Region.

About fifty three high schools in the region are reported to be engaging in corrupt practices on the program.

In a letter addressed to the GES Regional Director, the Service listed 53 schools to be investigated for alleged corruption in implementing the Free SHS Feeding Programme.

According to the Deputy Director-General, Anthony Boateng, the CID has informed GES about the ongoing investigation.

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Covid-19 could increase corruption risks in Ghana

The Community Development Alliance (CDA) Ghana’s report has shown that the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Ghana has created conditions in which corruption could flourish.

According to the CDA, the common cliché “we are not in normal times” by government officials served as an excuse to circumvent procurement regulations which heightened the corruption risk associated with governments response to fighting the pandemic.

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Social Auditing Clubs trained to monitor development projects

Social Auditing Clubs (SACS) have been charged to ensure the implementation of audit recommendations at the Metropolitan, Municipal, and the District Assemblies (MMDAs).

They should also ensure the auditing of community-based development projects.

Mr. Jacob Tettch Abuno, the Project Coordinator of Ghana Integrity Initiate (GII), made the call in a speech at a day’s Zonal level capacity building training in Cape Coast.

The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) organized the training for SACS members from Central and Western Regions.

Mr Abuno said the training was to strengthen the capacity of members to monitor development projects and to engage duty bearers at their localities in the fight against corruption.

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Foreign Aid and corruption in Africa

African countries have been receiving FOREIGN AID since independence for the past 60years, and Africa is yet to be developed or self-reliant. Since 1970, the world has spent over five trillion dollars in aid. Much of that money has come to Africa. Helping Africa is a noble cause, but the campaign has become a theater of rampage corruption, and abuse of power.

The Marshall Plan was an American initiative passed in 1948 for foreign aid to Western Europe. The goals of the United States were to rebuild war-torn regions, remove trade barriers, modernize industry, improve European prosperity. However, it hasn’t been the case in Africa. Foreign Aid has contributed to corruption in Africa through the large amounts of money that are sent over, and exploitation of resources.

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NCCE survey identifies bribery, favouritism as main forms of corruption

Ghanaians have identified bribery, favouritism and fraud as the main form of corruption in the country a survey conducted by the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) under the Accountability, Rule of law and Anti-Corruption Programme (ARAP) has established.

The survey, which focused on citizens’ awareness and knowledge of corruption, its causes and effect in Ghana established that corruption was endemic.

The NCCE as part of its civic education engagements has since 2017 been involved in numerous education programmes aimed at supporting Ghana’s anti-corruption and public accountability drive.

The Survey report made available to the Ghana News Agency at Tema on Friday captured a sampled size of 4,220 Ghanaians between 20 to 29 years. The survey used purposive, systematic, and simple random sampling techniques, from 108 districts, On the level of corruption, both studies-a baseline in 2017 and an end-line survey in 2020, established that corruption was high.

Majority of the baseline study respondents representing 91.4 per cent also ranked the level of corruption as high compared with 86.8 per cent in the end-line.

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