General News of Thu, 30 Jun 201638

'Interdicted' director storms PAC meeting to face off with Oye Lithur

There was drama at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday, when the "interdicted" Director of the Department of Children, Ms Mariama Yahaya, stormed the committee sitting to clarify why the Auditor General's Report cited her for inability to account for GHc14,000.

The report indicated that there was no expenditure documentation on the GHc14,000.

Ms Yahaya said she monitored the PAC sitting involving the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, on television and she felt the need to come over to clarify the issue.

Ms Yahaya said following what she described as her wrongful interdiction by the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection; her office was allegedly locked up.

She said all documents covering the use of the money were locked up in the office and that the GHc14,000 was used for interviews and migration programmes.

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At that stage, Nana Oye Lithur said Ms Yahaya would be given the opportunity to have access to her office to get hold of the documents.

Ms Yahaya agreed to go for the documents, and expressed the hope that all things being equal, she would find the documents covering the use of the GHc14,000.

Interdiction

Ms Yahaya said the minister interdicted her while she was on a programme in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region and that the Civil Service Council had since reinstated her, and she was currently occupying an office at the civil service headquarters.

Meanwhile, the case in which Ms Yahaya is challenging her interdiction is pending in court.

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Financial indiscipline

The PAC also accused the Ministry of Finance of engaging in financial indiscipline for releasing GHc2.3 million to the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to start an office building, which was not budgeted for.

The Chairman of PAC, Mr Kwaku Agyeman Manu, said it was wrong for the Ministry of Finance to release the money in 2012 to start the foundation of the office building, knowing that there was no budget to continue with the construction.

The release of the GHc2.3 million was captured in the 2011 Auditor General's Report, which was captured as excess expenditure.

The report indicated that the amount had not been originally included in the budget, but the Ministry of Finance saw the need to support the project and therefore released the money.

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Gender Minister's response

Responding to the queries, Nana Oye Lithur said her ministry needed an office building, and the Ministry of Finance saw the urgency of the project, hence the release of the money.

She told the PAC, construction of the building had been suspended since January 2014 because the government had not released money to pay the contractor.

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