Financial irregularities in state institutions amounting to ¢5.46bn uncovered in 2019

Johnson Akumoah Asiedu, Acting Auditor General

GH¢5.46 billion of financial irregularities in state institutions were uncovered in the year 2019 by the Auditor General Report on Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions covering the period 2019.

Per the figures, total irregularities have been fluctuating between 2015 and 2019.

For instance, total irregularities figure of GH¢3.311 billion for 2015 decreased to GH¢718.08 million in 2016.

Total irregularities however went up to GH¢12.002 billion in 2017.  However, it declined to GH¢3.007 billion in 2018 but went up by 81.8% to GH¢5.46 billion in 2019.

According to the report, the 81.8% or GH¢2.4 billion jump in the 2018 total irregularities figure of GH¢3,007 billion to GH¢5.46 billion in 2019 was occasioned mainly by a surge of GH¢3.058 billion in outstanding debtors/loans/recoverable component of the total irregularities in 2019.

GH¢4.859 billion of the financial irregularities were Outstanding Debts/ Loans Recoverable. These irregularities the report said represent trade debtors, staff debtors and outstanding loans.

Included in this figure is an amount of GH¢3.643 billion loans granted by SSNIT to other 16 related institutions that have defaulted in paying back the facility and workers contributions due from Controller and Accountant General’s Department.

The report cited the absence of effective debt collection policies, non-existence of credit controls to retrieve the debts and management’s indifferent posture towards loan recovery contributed significantly to these anomalous conditions.

Others are improper maintenance of records on debtors, the absence of debtors’ ageing analyses, non-documentation of agreements stipulating the terms and conditions of loans, failure to ensure that loans are repaid and management’s non-compliance with rules and regulations accounted for these irregularities.

To this end, the Auditor General Report recommended that management of Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions to strictly adhere to rules and regulations with regards to debts management.

Cash irregularities

The cash irregularities were estimated at about GH¢215.02 million.

Cash irregularities included the misapplication of funds, nonretirement of imprest, payments not authenticated, payment of board allowances to council members without ministerial approval, losses envisaged from projects undertaken by corporate entities and outright cash shortages.

“I therefore urged the Management of the Public Boards, Corporations and other Statutory Institutions to strengthen supervisory controls over their finance officers, and ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, (Act 921). I also recommended the authentication of all payment vouchers, prompt payment to bank and full retirement of accountable imprest on due dates”, the report stated.

Payroll irregularities

Payroll Irregularities were estimated at GH¢66.248 million.

The report said these lapses were caused by the failure of management to exercise due diligence, and the laxity of officers in charge of payroll validation in reviewing payment vouchers to ensure salaries were paid to only those who were entitled as well as payroll related irregularities.

They were also caused by management’s failure to notify banks to stop the payment of unearned salaries.

“I advised Management of the affected Institutions to promptly notify the bankers of the separated staff to withhold and pay to government chest all unearned salaries. I also recommended that officers in charge of payroll should exercise due care in the discharge of their duties”, the Auditor General Report noted. — myjoyonline


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