Parliament, Thursday, lamented over the attitude of some state institutions that has resulted in the country losing over GH₵2billion over a period of time.
A report of the Public Accounts Committee on the Report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana – Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2010 which was adopted by Parliament states quoted the country losing GH₵2,124,889,750 over the period under review.
The losses were incurred through outstanding debts/loan recoveries, cash irregularities, payroll irregularities, contract/procurement irregularities, stores irregularities and tax irregularities.
In 2010, the country loss GH₵57,144,238 while in 2011, a total of GH₵2,067,745,512 went down the drain through the above mentioned irregularities.
Cash irregularities in 2010 accounted for GH₵34,316,059 while in 2011, it figure escalated to GH₵1,965,052,672.
Oustanding debts/loan recoverable also accounted for GH₵118,033,660 with tax irregularities recording GH₵1,792,508 during the period under review.
Payroll irregularities accounted for GH₵2,093,903 while contract/procurement irregularities also accounted GH₵3,529,494.
The Auditor-General attributed the causes of the irregularities to systemic weaknesses such as: weak internal controls; lack of supervision; failure by Heads of Institutions to sanction wrong doers to serve as deterrent to others; non-adherence to relevant rules and regulations; lack of policies; and improper contract management.
Among the Public Boards, Corporations and Statutory Institutions that contributed to the above mentioned losses are; Ghana Cocoa Board, Cocoa Marketing Company (Ghana) Limited, Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), National Electrification Scheme, National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ghana Trade Fair Company, Ghana Standards Authority and School of Public Health, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana.
The rest are School of Nursing, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Professional Studies, Accra Polytechnic, University of Mines and Technology, University of Cape Coast, National Board for Professional and Technician Examination, Ghana Science Association and Abibigroma Theatre Company.
Also, Copyright Office, Legal Aid Scheme, Law Reform Commission, State Housing Company Limited, Electoral Commission, State Enterprises Audit Corporation and Economic and Organised Crime Office.
The purpose of the audit, according to the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, was for the Auditor-General to examine and express an opinion on the accounts of each Public Board, Corporation and other Statutory Institution.
It was also meant to evaluate the adequacy of the system of internal financial controls, compliance with relevant legislations, stated accounting policies and applicable financial rules and regulations of the above mentioned organizations.
The Committee, he noted, in their deliberations observed that most of the financial irregularities and systemic weaknesses in financial management systems in the institutions could have been avoided if the Audit Implementation Committees (ARICs) in all the Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions had been established and were functioning effectively.
Mr. Agyemang-Manu, therefore, urged management of all Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions to strengthen the ARICs within their organizations in accordance with section 30 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) to ensure that audit recommendations are duly implemented.
The Ranking Member of the Public Accounts Committee, Ibrahim Dey Abubakari, commenting on the report said there seems to be no significant improvement in the number of queries in the Auditor-General report compared to previous years and therefore recommended that the House finds a way of punishing people to serve as a wake-up call to those managing state institutions.
A member of the Committee, Isaac Asiamah also bemoaned the system losses incurred by the Electricity Company of Ghana and urged the House to come hard on managers of public institutions who do not perform to satisfaction.
The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, after listening to the concerns raised by the members prior to the adoption of the report of the committee directed the Clerk of the House to submit a copy of the day’s proceedings and also writes to the heads of the above mentioned state institutions to submit their implementation report to the legislature for study latest by October 15, 2015.