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General News Thu, 1 Aug 2013

GYEEDA owes GHc260m

Documents available to DAILY GUIDE indicate that the controversial Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) is indebted to its service providers to the tune of GHc259 million, approximately ¢2.6 trillion.

This shocking revelation is contained in the report of the five-member ‘impact assessment and review committee’ tasked by the Minister of Youth and Sports to investigate alleged maladministration and financial indiscipline at the National Youth Employment (NYEP), which has been named GYEEDA.

A copy of the report, which is in the possession of DAILY GUIDE, indicates that as at June 30, 2013, GYEEDA was indebted to the tune of GHc259 million.

The indicting committee report recommended the prosecution of six officers of the agency including a Deputy National Co-ordinator, Alhassan Tapsoba.

PV Obeng Committee

However, even though NDC appointees including Ministers have been boasting that President John Mahama would implement the report to the letter, the President made a sudden U turn when news came in yesterday that a review committee had been set up to look into the report.

P. V. Obeng, a Senior Presidential Advisor, is heading the review committee which is seen as an attempt to white-wash the indicted officers.

The committee found a lot of rot at GYEEDA and called for heads to roll.

About 47 per cent or GHc122 million is said to be owed to the company known as Better Ghana Management Service Limited (BGMS), belonging to Joseph Siaw Agyapong of Zoomlion fame.

Meanwhile, between the year 2009 and 2012, almost GHc950 million was said to have been expended on the programme which is currently battling for survival.

Interestingly, these funding sources were said to lack legal backing since according to the committee’s report “no amendments were made to the relevant laws to allow funds to be transferred to GYEEDA.”

But the report noted that “a fair estimate shows that given the pre-financing nature of the arrangement with BGMS, GYEEDA is paying financing cost of about 100 per cent per month or 1,200 per cent per annum.”

It, therefore, observed with concern that “government with all its spending power should be borrowing at such a high ‘interest’ rate,” insisting that “with the right level of financial planning, GYEEDA should be able to borrow at 50per cent per annum, at worst.”

Systems Failure

Apart from that, the five-member committee, which had Ferdinand Gunn as its Chairman with the likes of Tuinese Edward Amuzu, Randolph Nsor-Ambala, Kwami Edem Senanu and Mike K. Gabah as members, also uncovered that “GYEEDA lacks the structures and systems to effectively manage the amount of national resources it receives as a result of several factors militating against effective management of the finances of GYEEDA.”

It also came to light that the current Chief Financial Officer (CFO), who is also the Deputy National Co-ordinator, Finance, the most senior finance person, had no track record as a competent head of finance.

He was said to have gladly admitted, during the committee’s investigations that he lacked the training and experience to operate effectively as head of finance, for which reason the report said “he is not able to bring best practice influence to bear on GYEEDA in terms of demonstrating financial responsibility, transparency, accountability and ethical conduct in financial resource management.”

That aside, it emerged that “the DNC Finance did not seem to have full visibility of payments made to Service Providers (SPs) as well as the obligations of GYEEDA under various MoUs.”

This lack of adequate capacity in the finance unit, the report said “affected the financial governance environment of GYEEDA and introduced various risks such as the inability to supervise the operations of Agric Development Bank (ADB) and relevant rural banks to effectively mitigate the risk of siphoning of state funds at the district level.”

Multiple Complicity

Documentation reviewed by the committee also revealed allegations of complicity in the unauthorised opening of bank accounts in the name of GYEEDA at the district level.

This was said to have facilitated the unauthorised withdrawal of unclaimed beneficiary allowances through the unauthorised operation of accounts at the district level.

“A case in point was the opening of account number 660 operated at the Agona Branch of Komfo Anokye Rural Bank to withdraw twenty three thousand four hundred and seventy three Ghana cedis (GHc23, 473.00),” the report noted.

That notwithstanding, there was also said to be an attempt to transfer an amount of GHc120, 000 into an account number 123 at the Pankrono branch of the same rural bank.

Shady Contracts

The report also emphasised that “the absence of effective planning has also resulted in haphazard signing of contracts and disbursement of resources” for which reason “it would appear that GYEEDA does not have a means of adequately reviewing its transactions to provide a clear route for achieving its aims and targets.”

Furthermore, the committee findings said “it (referring to GYEEDA) also lacks the ability to monitor and control income and expenditure during the budget period” and that “GYEEDA does not regularly prepare financial statements monthly, quarterly or annually.”

This, according to the committee, was evident in the fact that they did not see a summary of funds received and how they were expended, for instance, on an annual basis, insisting that “GYEEDA does not have a system whether manual, spreadsheet or an accounting software to record all transactions and to be able to understand what the records mean.”

The committee, therefore, noted with emphasis that “GYEEDA cannot boast of a recording system that could produce a record that is both complete and accurate, thus capturing all transactions correctly arithmetically to facilitate the financial audit process.”

“There is also evidence that a series of payments were authorised and made without the knowledge of the head of finance,” it noted while citing inadequate financial oversight.

Source: Daily Guide