Parliament has banned the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) from utilizing exhibit funds for its operations under any circumstances.
To eliminate the risk of these exhibit funds being misapplied and in accordance with Regulation 56 of the Financial Administration Regulations, 2004 (L.I 1802), Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has recommended that the funds be lodged in a sub-Consolidated Fund Account with the Controller and Accountant General as the signatory whilst EOCO plays the role of disbursement advisor.
The Committee initiated this move following revelations in the 2010 and 2011 Auditor-General’s Report which indicated that contrary to Regulation 56 of the Financial Regulation Act, 2004 (L.I 1802), monies received by EOCO from private and public institutions were paid into an Exhibit Account and retained for periods beyond three years without proper authorization.
The report further indicated that as at 31st December 2009, a total amount of GH₵2,094,278.64 had accrued in the account to the detriment of the rightful individuals, institutions and /or government.
Executive Director of EOCO explained to the committee why the delay in releasing the monies to the “victims”:
“the monies being held as the exhibits are not for the “victims” but for the “suspects”. The monies are only given to the victims upon a ruling by the courts. The Controller and Accountant General has opened an account into which these monies are paid pending the determination of the case, after which the relevant amounts are paid to the appropriate person, institution or government”.
The EOCO Boss further noted that long standing amounts, have since year 2011, been transferred into an account designated by the Ministry of Finance.