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2021 Auditor-General’s report: 37 Directors charged to refund GH¢2.1m unaccounted funds

BY: Suleiman Mustapha
Financial infractions recorded at various assemblies
Financial infractions recorded at various assemblies

The Auditor-General has charged 37 coordinating directors and finance officers of various district assemblies to refund over GH¢ 2.1 million unaccounted for funds to their respective assemblies’ accounts.

The monies were unaccounted for because there were no payment vouchers or retired imprest to support their disbursement.

“We recommended that in the absence of accountability, the coordinating directors and finance officers should be held liable to refund the amount into the assemblies’ accounts”, the Auditor-General states in its 2021 audit of the district assemblies.

Revenue collection

On revenue collection, about 163 tax collectors who were engaged by 31 assemblies were paid salaries of over GH¢3.040 million when they could only collect revenue of only GH¢1.6 million representing 54 per cent of their salaries leading to a shortfall of GH¢1.4 million.

The Auditor-General has therefore recommended disciplinary action against non-performing collectors.

“We recommended to management of the assemblies to enforce revenue targets for collectors, and remuneration paid should be commensurate with their collections”.

Misappropriated revenue

Again 43 assemblies misappropriated a total amount of GH¢646,094.62 revenue collected and the Auditor-General has recommended that the amount be recovered from the revenue collectors with sanctions or the coordinating directors, finance officers and revenue superintendents be made to refund the amount into the assemblies’ accounts.

In the audit report, 63 assemblies could not collect GH¢4.1 million due from rent, property rates and business operating permits, among others.

“We recommended that, if routine recovery measures fail to yield results, legal action should be taken against the defaulters for recovery of the amount”, the Auditor-General states.

Payroll

There were also payroll infractions of GH¢777,627. which occurred at 32 assemblies and involved the over payment of salaries to staff.

There were also instances where social security contributions deducted from staff salaries were not remitted to the Social Security and National Insurance Trust and poor management of pension funds which resulted in penalty payment.

The Auditor-General has therefore recommended recovery of the unearned and overpaid salaries from the beneficiaries otherwise, the coordinating directors and salary validators whose inaction resulted in the loss be held liable.

“We also recommended that coordinating directors and finance officers of the assemblies should invest pension funds in mandatory schemes to ensure payment of benefits to contributors on their retirement and be held liable for payment of penalties,” the Auditor-General states.

Contract

The 2021 audit also indicated that seven assemblies spent over GH¢2.7 million, on projects which had been abandoned after completion.

Four assemblies reported abandoned/delayed projects for periods ranging between 24 and 128 months while three assemblies had projects completed between January and March 2021 but were not in use.

To avoid cost overruns, the Auditor-General recommends that management of the assemblies should ensure that priority is given to abandoned and delayed projects before new ones are awarded and to also make provision in project budgets for all needed ancillary amenities to make them usable on completion.