General News of 2014-04-09

SADA rot: Huge sums of money paid to consultants monthly

Monies allocated to the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) are meant to improve the lives of poverty-stricken people of Northern Ghana. But huge amounts of funds allocated to the authority are doled out monthly to consultants.
Investigations by Joy News’s Manasseh Azure Awuni have revealed that these consultants were wrongly recruited and their performance leaves much to be desired.
The report is part of Joy FM's investigative series titled the "Sad SADA Story". SADA was created to coordinate development to bridge the poverty gap between the north and the south.
Management’s explanation for engaging consultants is that SADA had only a skeletal staff at its inception and needed qualified technical staff on short term basis.
Documents available to Joy News, however, reveal that the consultants were not engaged only at the inception of the authority. The consultants were also not engaged on short term basis.
For instance, SADA currently has a full time Director in charge of Resource Mobilization but it also has a consultant for resource mobilization.
A recent audit report on SADA secured by Joy News questions how the consultants were selected. According to the audit report, the consultants were selected without going through public advertisement.
The report says the audit team could not sight profiles of the consultants. It concludes that the action by SADA has blurred transparency and could compromise value for money and facilitate financial abuse.
Another issue raised by the auditors is the huge amounts of money paid to the consultants on monthly basis.
For instance, Dr Charles Jebuni, who consults for SADA as Chief Technical Advisor, is paid almost GH¢20,000 every month, making him the highest paid staff of SADA.
SADA also pays Bakari Sadiq Nyari, a Director at the Lands Commission GH¢ 10,800 every month as a consultant on land issues.
The authority pays Kennedy Mohammed GH¢7,500 every month as a consultant for Resource Mobilization even though he has not mobilized a pesewa for SADA since his engagement.
Besides, SADA provides him with the tools to work, including a 6,000 Ghana cedi laptop computer.
Another anomaly detected by the audit team is that SADA deducts only 5% instead of the 10% tax it’s supposed to deduct from the consultancy fees. The audit report concludes that the consultants are a drain on the financial resources of the Authority that is meant to alleviate poverty within the SADA zone.