Finance Ministry ‘steals’ GHC226.3m from YEA accounts

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Wed, 15 Aug 2018 Source: kasapafmonline.com

Members of the Public Accounts Committee, Tuesday, August 14, 2018, had a shock of their lives when they were hit with the news that the Ministry of Finance in the year 2015 secretly caused the Bank of Ghana to transfer an amount of GH? GH?226, 390, 383.98 from the account of the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) with the knowledge of the agency.

It is not clear what the Finance Ministry used that money for.

According to the 2016 Auditor-General’s report on the public accounts of Ghana, Ministries, Departments and other Agencies (MDAs), an amount of GH?56,390,388.98 was withdrawn from the accounts of the YEA without any contractual agreement between the Ministry of Finance and the employment agency.

The move by the Finance Ministry, according to the Auditor-General, was in contravention to Regulation 2 of the FAR, 2004 (LI 1802) which requires all heads of departments to control and manage efficiently all financial resources under their control.

Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, the Chief Executive Officer of the YEA, Justin Kodua, further revealed that the amount withdrawn from their coffers by the Finance Ministry far exceeds what was captured by the Auditor-General in his report.

He said the situation is gradually becoming a norm by managers of the country’s resources and must immediately be halted.

“The money was taken from the YEA accounts without recourse to the YEA. It did not only happen once. If you look at appendix 3, on July 6, 2017, we wrote a letter to the Ministry of Finance drawing their attention to it. In the letter, on June 16, 2016, they took an amount of GH?150million from the YEA account. On September 30, 2015, they took an amount of GH?56,390,388.98. Then on February 22, 2017, they took an amount of GH?20million from the YEA account. In total an amount of GH?226, 390, 383.98 were taken from YEA account. We wrote a letter to the Finance Ministry to seek refunds for those monies and only the GH?20million which was taken in 2017 were refunded to us. The rest our efforts have not yielded any results”, he narrated.

When asked if the money was “sitting” in the accounts of the YEA without being put into use and why should the Finance Ministry not take over such funds, the Minister for Employment and Labour Relation, Hon. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, who also appeared before the PAC, provided some answers.

“I will advise that we situate it within the timeframe with which the situation happened. We recall the history of the YEA – After the demise of GYEEDA, a new law had to be passed. When the law took effect, deductions were then made on behalf of the YEA. So, it was like the deductions even preceded the actual set up of the YEA. So, even before the setup, the amount had accumulated and of course, public funds whether it belonged to the MDA or not, it is still public funds. So, at a point in time the government then decided that why don’t we take the money back and use it? So, it wasn’t like the money came and the YEA wasn’t prepared to use it but it happened just at the initial set up of the YEA and that is how that accumulated funds occurred”, he explained.

The YEA is an agency under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

Source: kasapafmonline.com
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