Retrieve study leave money from lecturer - PAC directs Bolga Technical University
Dr James Klutse Avedzi (middle), Chairman of PAC,

Retrieve study leave money from lecturer - PAC directs Bolga Technical University

The issue of institutions abusing study leave continue to headline the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) probing work, with the latest culprit being a lecturer of the Bolgatanga Technical University.

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The PAC, which is hearing cases of infractions and misappropriations captured in the Auditor General's report for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the northern zone, has directed the technical university to retrieve within a month the GH¢236,000 paid to a lecturer, who was granted study leave but failed to return to serve the university after completion.  

The directive is part of PAC’s week-long zonal public hearings in Tamale to probe lingering issues raised in the Auditor-General’s report that have been referred to the committee for consideration.

The public hearing, which begun last Tuesday and expected to end on Saturday, will enable the 25-member committee to look into the 2020 Audited Accounts of MMDAs, tertiary and second cycle institutions in the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West regions.

Procurement breaches

Last Tuesday hearing centred on reports on the Bolgatanga Technical University and Dr Hilla Liman Technical University in Wa for procurement violations and infractions.

For example, Dr Hilla Liman Technical University did not obtain approval from the appropriate authorities before purchasing furniture for the university.

The committee also gave a one-month deadline to the Bolgatanga Technical University to refund GH¢4,000 lost in the disposal of a machine purchased to produce water for students and staff.

According to the Auditor-General’s Report, the university paid GH¢10,000 for the machine in 2014, but it was never used and was sold to the Presbyterian Church in Bolgatanga for GH¢6,000 in 2020, resulting in the loss.

Advice

In response to the development, the Chairman of the committee, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, directed both technical universities to remedy the anomalies as soon as possible and submit documents of proof for auditing or face a surcharge.

He expressed worry about why public institutions continued to violate procurement procedures, in spite of repeated reminders from committees over the years.

As a result, Dr Avedzi advised heads of government institutions to follow the country's laws in order to ensure accountability and prevent financial malfeasance and other impropriety.

Reactions

In response to the report, the Vice-Chancellor of Bolgatanga Technical University, Professor Samuel Erasmus Alnaa, said the university had made several attempts to secure funding to construct a structure to begin the operation of the machine purchased but had been unsuccessful.

He said the university had no choice but to dispose of the machine because it was rapidly deteriorating and losing value.

Concerning the lecturer who failed to serve the university after being granted study leave, Prof. Alnaa said his organisation had reported the matter to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO), following which he had since refunded GH¢103,000.
Hearing continues today.

Background

PAC in January this year also directed the management of three hospitals to lodge a complaint with the police for the arrest of guarantors of three former staff who failed to honour their bonds after receiving support from the facilities to study abroad.

The Chairman of the PAC said that would compel the beneficiaries to refund all money spent on their studies by the state.

The former staff were from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), the Accra Psychiatric Hospital and the Nkawie-Toase Hospital in the Asanti Region.

“Every year, we have this, especially in the universities, we spend government money on them but they go and do not come back,” Dr Avedzi lamented.

Dr Avedzi further suggested that the facilities should rather accept bank guarantees against the sponsored staff because individual guarantors were not sufficient.

“Next time look for bank guarantee before you spend on somebody, they should go to the bank and get a guarantee so that if they don’t return, we take the money from the bank,” he said.

Writer's email:[email protected]

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