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Auditor-General indicts Ministry of Roads and Highways; Gh¢592.7m claims thrown out

Wed, 24 Jan 2018 Source: thefinderonline.com

The Auditor-General has rejected GH¢592.7 million (GH¢592,745,656.94) out of GH¢1 billion (GH¢1,098,655,518.52) submitted to the Ministry of Finance by the Ministry of Roads and Highways for payment.

The figure is labelled as outstanding debts as at December 2016.

The Auditor-General’s Report on Liabilities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as of December 31, 2016 paints a scary picture of how state funds are being dissipated.

GH¢43.1m paid illegally

According to the report, the Finance Ministry made payments totalling GH¢43.1 million (GH¢43,180,917.51) to the Ministry of Roads and Highways illegally.

Overpayment of GH¢25.6 million (GH¢25,625,439.89) was made to the Ministry of Roads and Highways in respect of contracts executed by 24 companies while GH¢17.5 million (GH¢17,555,477.62) was paid by Ghana Highways Authority without supporting documents.

GH¢36.7m presented by Department of Feeder Roads

According to the report, the Ministry of Roads and Highways, on behalf of the Department of Feeder Roads, submitted to the Ministry of Finance, outstanding claims for roadworks totalling GH¢36.7 million (GH¢36,774,623.20) as of December 31, 2016, per a letter dated February 10, 2017.

GH¢14.3m valid

To ascertain the validity of the claim, the Auditor-General reviewed relevant contract certificates and the underlying documents and certified that a total amount of GH¢22.4 million (GH¢22,429,152.63) was valid claims.

GH¢14.3m rejected

The Auditor-General rejected claims amounting to GH¢14.3 million (GH¢14,345,470.57).

GH¢509.3m presented by Ghana Highways Authority

The report revealed that the Ministry of Roads and Highways (MRH), on behalf of Ghana Highways Authority, submitted GH¢509.3 million (GH¢509,349,208.64) to the Ministry of Finance as outstanding debt as of December 31, 2016. The breakdown is as follows: salary and non-related salary allowances – GH¢1.9million (GH¢1,928,170.76); goods and services – GH¢135,458.41; and capital projects – GH¢507.2 million (GH¢507,285,579.47).

GH¢279.8m genuine claims

When the Auditor-General reviewed the underlying records to ascertain the veracity of this claim, it was revealed that out of a total liability of GH¢509.3 million submitted, only GH¢279.8 million (GH¢279,882,663.62) was genuine.

GH¢229.4m rejected

According to the Auditor-General, the ministry could not provide any relevant supporting document to substantiate the validity of the difference of GH¢229.4 million (GH¢229,466,545.03).

GH¢17.5m paid illegally

What is even disturbing is the revelation that the ministry has already paid GH¢17.5 million (GH¢17,555,477.62) of the GH¢229.4 million rejected claim.

GH¢477.4m submitted by Department of Urban Roads

The Ministry of Roads and Highways, on behalf of the Department of Urban Roads, also submitted to the Ministry of Finance, a total amount of GH¢477.4m (GH¢477,477,811.29) as various outstanding claims as of December 31, 2016.

GH¢203.5 million certified

To ascertain the veracity of the claim, the Auditor-General reviewed the underlying records, and noted that out of the claim submitted, GH¢203.5 million (GH¢203,598,045.34) was certified as valid as of December 31, 2016.

GH¢273.8m rejected

A total of GH¢273.8 million (GH¢273,879,765.95) was rejected on the grounds of unsupported claims and already paid transactions.

GH¢75m claim submitted

The report said the Ministry of Roads and Highways submitted GH¢75 million (GH¢75,053,875.39) as government indebtedness to some 24 companies as of December 31, 2016 for various works done.

GH¢100.6m already paid for same claim

When the Auditor-General subjected the claims for verification, it was discovered that government had already paid GH¢100.6 million (GH¢100,679,315.28) in respect of the same 24 companies.

The payments had already been made from the Ministry of Finance Chief Director’s accounts prior to the end of 2016.

GH¢25.6m overpayment

This means government has overpaid the claim by GH¢25.6 million (GH¢25,625,439.89).

GH¢75m claim rejected

Consequently, the Auditor-General rejected the claim of GH¢75,053,875.39 on behalf of the 24 contractors.

The Ministry of Finance was, therefore, urged to initiate the process for the recovery of the overpayment.

GH¢6.4m rejected

The report indicates that the Auditor-General could not, however, validate liabilities totalling GH¢6.4 million (GH¢6,430,581.59), which were included in the Ministry of Roads and Highways’ request letter dated February 10, 2017 and referred to as addendum for 2016, because the ministry could not produce this letter and request list at the time of validation.

The liability list presented on commencement of the validation was without a covering letter and could not be relied upon for the validation exercise.

Source: thefinderonline.com

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