Interior Ministry disputes Auditor-General’s Report on private security data
The Ministry for the Interior has disputed aspects of the Auditor-General’s Report that suggest that 443 private security companies in the country are operating illegally.
Both the acting Chief Director of the ministry, Doreen Annan, and a Deputy Minister for the Interior, Naana Eyiah, contested the numbers when they appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament last Friday.
In the Auditor-General’s Report for the year ending December 2022, it was stated that out of 674 private security companies registered with the Interior Ministry, 443 of them failed to renew their licences, leading to a revenue loss of GH¢886,000 to the state.
However, the ministry’s officials questioned whether, indeed, it amounted to revenue loss to the state while disputing the figure altogether.
Ms Annan stated that 283 companies had rather registered with the ministry, and not 674 as stated by the auditors, although she admitted that only 44 of them were in good standing.
The auditors, however, insisted that the figures were taken from the ministry's database, which could, therefore, not be questioned.
They reckoned, though, that the ministry lacked the muscle to monitor such companies, which the Chairman of the committee, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, described as a security risk to the state.
When asked whether the ministry had collected some of the GH¢886,000, the Senior Internal Auditor of the Ministry, George A. Brobbey, answered in the affirmative, but could not give the exact amount.
The chief director said money collected regarding the subject was rather from 44 companies, but that the ministry was yet to put the figures together.
Later, she said the money collected was from 43 companies and not 44 companies, totalling GH¢88,000.
With apparent contradictory figures being produced at the encounter, the committee asked the ministry to go, prepare and reappear before the committee.
The chairman of the committee suggested to the officials, who appeared before the PAC, to get the desk officer in charge of the private security companies and the IT officials to properly brief them before reappearing.
The Auditor-General’s Report detected procurement breaches within the Ghana Immigration Service, but the Comptroller-General of the Service, Kwame Asuah Takyi, said there had been retroactive approval to legitimise them.
The committee, however, detected a revision of two contracts by more than 10 per cent of contract sum without approval from the Central Tender Review Board.
It covered the construction of a female dormitory and a wall at a training school.
The committee noted that although the service was cleared by the Auditor-General due to price variations, it was unacceptable as that could create room for corruption.
On a public interest question, the Member of Parliament (MP) for South Dayi Constituency, Nelson-Rockson Dafeamekpor, called on the service to treat the people crossing the Asikuma Immigration checkpoint with respect.
He said with an internal checkpoint, it was unacceptable to subject indigenes to embarrassment and humiliation to the extent that the nationalities of some passengers were questioned.
The MP said much as he would not want to impede the work of the service, the people, including his constituents, should be treated with dignity.
In response, the Comptroller-General said the recent terrorist threats within the sub-region made it necessary to be curious about people’s identities.