Parliament rejects PAC’s report on disposal of govt vehicles

BY: Sebastian Syme
Ghana's parliament
Ghana's parliament

Parliament has rejected the report of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on the disposal of some government vehicles at the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and the Ghana Health Service (GHS) following its failure to proffer stiffer sanctions against the auctioneer of the vehicles.

In April 2017, the two institutions together with their auctioneers who disposed of their vehicles at very low prices, appeared before the committee to answer questions on why they sold some of the said vehicles as low as GH¢1,000.

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Rejection

On the floor of the House last Thursday, the First Deputy Speaker, Mr Joe Osei-Owusu, observed that officials who were culpable in the improper disposal of the said vehicles were not given the appropriate sanctions for which reason the House declined to adopt the PAC report.
He, therefore, asked for the withdrawal of the report for it to be sent back to the committee for appropriate recommendations to include stiffer sanctions against Mr Alexander Adjei of Alex Mart Auctioneering, the auctioneer.

According to Mr Osei-Owusu, there had been some breaches of the law for which reason appropriate recommendations must be made in respect of those breaches against such public officials for negligent or non-compliant of the law.


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“That is why I am directing that the report comes back to the committee. All that is outstanding, the committee should address and report back,” he said.

The committee, in its report held the view that there was a breach of financial discipline on the part of the MoFA as Section 21 of the Financial Administration Regulations states that “failure to comply with the regulations on collections, accounting and disclosure of non-tax revenue, including internally generated funds, is a breach of financial discipline.”

It further observed that the delayed payment of proceeds from the auction sale into the Non-tax Revenue Account at the Bank of Ghana denied the government the needed revenue to undertake its activities.

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Background

In April 2017, the PAC accused officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) and an auctioneer of the ministry for violating the auction laws when 24 vehicles were sold to staff members of the ministry at very low prices.

The auctioneer, Mr Adjei, side-stepped the laws governing the proper disposal of government vehicles and sold off the vehicles, including double-cabin pickups, to the staff of the ministry and took home an undeserved seven per cent commission amounting to GH¢33,203.

Mr Adjei’s spontaneous laughter to some questions incurred the wrath of the committee members when he came across as not serious and was cautioned not to take the committee for granted when he was told that he would not be smiling after the PAC concluded its report with recommendations.

He further caused hilarity when he pleaded for forgiveness after one of the committee members, Mr Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, threatened to recommend the withdrawal of his licence for exhibiting crass ignorance in his responses to questions.