Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament
The Majority in parliament has described explanations offered by former Deputy Minister of Finance Cassiel Ato Forson regarding the GHS7billion expenditure which Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia described having been “hidden” by the Mahama administration, as pathetic.
Mr Forson had said the conduct of Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia smacked of hypocrisy and double standards. The Vice President said on Tuesday that: “As we interrogated the data to see exactly why our public finances are in the state they are, we found that there is GHS7billion of expenditure that has not been disclosed.”
Mr Forson, who is the Member of Parliament for Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam, explained that the GHS7billion expenditure was captured in a special government data system at the Finance Ministry, which Dr Bawumia should be aware of.
He added that the expenditures were captured under a new financial management system called the Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), which the current government does not understand.
However, responding to these explanations at a counter press conference in parliament on Thursday, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, said: “In a response that could be best be described as pathetic, the Minority in parliament sought to explain that the GHS7billion of expenditures uncovered was due to reforms being undertaken on government contracts and expenditures, which is part of the GIFMIS project. So, clearly, there is admission by the Minority that the GHS7billion expenditure which had been kept out of the purview of the books of government constitutes real expenditures that have been undertaken.”
“The reaction by former Deputy Minister Ato Forson is sad and deeply worrying and depicts a team that is grossly unaware of the extent to which the nation’s books may have been cooked to provide a false sense of good economic management and to deceive investors. More worrying is the fact that the former Deputy Minister attributed the arrears accumulation to reforms underway and the way in which data is captured. What the former deputy minister describes as creative accounting management is unethical and dangerous.
“We are of the view that given the fact that implementation of the ECF programme is still underway, the IMF stands in a better position to make some of these issues clear. As to whether those represent a breach of the ECF programme conditionalities, we will know by the end of next week when the mission chief is expected to brief donors on his findings. We may recall that under the programme, the government is not allowed to accumulate arrears. This may yet represent another serious breach of the programme and if care is not taken punitive actions could be meted out against Ghana. Let us not forget that a similar occurrence in 2000 led to Ghana being fined $39million.”
Watch video of the Majority's press conference below
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