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COVID-19 Private Sector Fund clarifies GH¢254,000 Auditor-General discrepancy

Senyo Hosi009 Managing Trustee of the Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund, Senyo Hosi

Tue, 6 Sep 2022 Source: thebftonline.com

The Ghana COVID-19 Private Sector Fund (GCPSF) has offered clarity over the claims by the Auditor-General that it had failed to account for GH¢254,203 which it received from the COVID-19 National Trust Fund (NCTF), for the procurement of medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPEs),

According to GCPSF, the sum which accrued from savings from renegotiated contracts had been applied toward the procurement of equipment for the Ghana Infectious Disease Centre (GIDC).

In its 2021 report covering Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions, the Auditor General’s office had accused the Private Sector Fund of failing to account for GH¢254,203 out of 10,257,360 that the Covid-19 National Trust Fund had given to the GCPSF.

The State’s auditor further stated that it had recommended the refund of the said sum, which had not been heeded at the time it was conducting its verification process.

However, in a tersely written rebuttal signed by a Managing Trustee, Senyo K. Hosi, GCPSF explained that following a long-standing relationship – which had seen the NCTF serve as a major contributor to its projects – the private entity entered into a donation agreement with the latter to acquire and jointly donate some items.

“The GCPSF renegotiated some contracts following the failure of some contractors to supply the required items on time or meet our quality standards. These renegotiations provided opportunities to extract value and achieve savings of GH¢254,203 for the project. This was reported in our 2020 accounts prepared by KPMG and same shared with the NCTF.

"We drew the attention of the NCTF auditors to the savings and notified the NCTF of our intent to apply the savings towards the acquisition of additional items for COVID-19 centres since the PARF project was still active,” the statement read in part.

It added that steps were taken in partnership with the Noguchi Medical Research Institute to provide the GIDC laboratory with relevant equipment for it to be upgraded to a level-3 status, fitted with real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) equipment.

“This process commenced in July 2020 and was completed in May 2022 with the award of the relevant contracts worth GH¢1.33 million. The process… was competitive and transparent. The NCTF PARF donation saving of GH¢254,203 was partly applied to fund the acquisition of the lab equipment,” the statement said, adding that the private sector fund was of the view that the use the savings to procure the critical equipment for the public good remains constructive.

The private sector entity said it opted to ensure the implementation of the lab upgrade project before completing the accounting process for the saving, with equipment worth GH¢557,610 already delivered and more items undergoing clearing at the Tema Port.

Refund

Whilst the GCPSF took particular offence at the suggestion that its actions could have led to public resources being used for trading by a private entity for personal gain, it expressed conviction that the application of the funds to the laboratory upgrade, after duly informing the donor entity had addressed the request to account for the remaining GH¢254,203 from the National Covid-19 Trust Fund.

“… we believe it effectively addresses the recommendation by the Auditor-General to have us account for the funds which were unutilised at the time of the audit. We have therefore requested the NCTF to reconsider its request for a refund,” the Private Sector Fund stated.

“We have further indicated our willingness and ability to make the payment requested if the NCTF so insists after reconsidering its position in the light of the new information we have provided.”

Source: thebftonline.com
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