Local Gov’t Ministry complicit in financial malfeasance at Assemblies’
The failure of the Local Government and Rural Development Ministry to implement effective monitoring and control mechanisms to track the application and utilization of the District Assemblies’ Common Fund (DACF) has tripled financial malfeasance in the operations and activities of the Assemblies from 2017 to 2018.
The non-imposition of sanctions by the sector Minister, Hajia Alima Mahama to minimise infractions and deficiencies has resulted in over GHc120 million in financial irregularities recorded in 2018 as against GHc40.93 million in 2017, according to the latest report from the Auditor General.
To curb such financial irregularities and deficiencies such as cash irregularities, contract irregularities, inefficient procurement and stores as well as tax irregularities, the Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Domelovo has for the second time in succession reminded the Employment Minister on the need to implement the directive, which according to the Auditor General, the Minister had failed to do.
Malfeasance and mismanagement of District Assemblies’ Common Fund has been increasingly drastically within the last five years, accounting for more than GHc303 million in wasteful expenditure. For instance, the total sum of irregularities at the assemblies’ level resulted in more than GHc18 million in wastages in 2014 and by the end of 2015, the figure had tripled to over GHc53 million.
During the election year in 2016, the figure recorded a percentage increase of 32 percent, reaching more than GHc70 million. However, it decreased to GHc40 million in 2017 before tripling again in 2018.
These statistics indicate that the effective control mechanisms to track the application and utilization of the DACF are virtually non-existent or are not being implemented effectively able enough to deter members from continuing with inefficient or outright malfeasant practices.
Article 187(7)(b) of the 1992 Constitution empowers the Auditor General to disallow any item of expenditure which is contrary to law and surcharge the amount of any loss or deficiency, upon any person by whose negligence and misconduct incurred the loss.
However, it appears that the Auditor General Daniel Domelovo is being lenient in exercising this constitutional provision against officials of the Assemblies found culpable of misapplying and misappropriating the District Assemblies Common Fund and other Statutory Funds, even as he reiterates that he will not hesitate holding such officials accountable.
He has since called on the sector Minister, the Head of Local Government Service, and the Administrators of the Funds to take note of his constitutional mandate.