Four top officials of the Ghana Museums and Monuments Board (GMMB) have been asked to proceed on indefinite leave.
This follows the discovery by the Minister of Tourism and Creative Art that the four and some other officials had connived and diverted millions of Ghana cedis meant for the maintenance of museums and monuments in the country.
The four officials are the acting executive director of Ghana Museums and Monuments Board, Naana Ocran; assistant director in-charge of Monuments, Frederick Kofi Amekudi; the accountant, Kate Heymann and the Central Regional director of GMMB, Nicholas Ivor.
They were to proceed on leave to allow for further investigations into their operations at the GMMB that have reportedly cost the nation huge sums of money.
Their letters, signed by the Minister of Tourism, Catherine Afeku, read in part, “Further to this ministry’s letter dated 9th April, 2018 on the above subject matter, investigation has to be conducted into receipts and disbursements of funds received from public and private organisations covering 2015 to date. Accordingly, you are to proceed on indefinite leave with effect from 2nd May, 2018. In your absence, the chairman of the Board will appoint someone to act on your behalf.”
The tourism minister said after meticulous investigations into their dealings, it was discovered that the four officials since 2015 had squandered about $1.5 million and GH¢1 million that was supposed to be used for renovation and maintenance of museums and monuments.
According to the minister, she was astonished at how these officials had over the years successfully solicited funds from some international organisations in the name of the public institution without recourse to the parent ministry and had squandered such monies without anybody noticing it.
Ms Afeku said it was a colleague who hinted her about the GMMB officials’ ‘underground’ dealings with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) where the acting executive director and the assistant director in-charge of monuments had successfully secured $1 million for the renovation of monuments in the country.
She disclosed that a board member of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) informed her about an amount of GH¢1 million that was given to the management of GMMB in February this year for the re-roofing of the Accra Museum and asked whether she was in the know.
“I was very much shocked and completely taken aback when the GNPC board member told me about that money and why official recognition had not been given by the ministry,” she said, stressing that further investigations into the GNPC’s assertion revealed that the money was indeed received by the management of the GMMB but had not been used for the intended purpose.
She also maintained that the Turkish Ambassador to Ghana, after visiting her, also notified her about some financial assistance that had been given to the management of GMMB.
Ms Catherine Afeku explained that when the officials were questioned, they admitted the malfeasance and the misappropriation of money meant for the running of the public institution.
She noted that President Nana Akufo-Addo’s ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’ policy can indeed make the country economically independent if most of the corrupt practices were stop.