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‘Retrieve Illegal Professional Allowance Paid To Pharmacists’ - Auditor-General
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Illegal professional allowance, totalling GH¢128,931, which was paid to public sector pharmacists in 2012 should be retrieved, the Auditor General has directed.

The management of the Pharmacy Council was asked to retrieve the amount and pay it into the Internally Generated Fund (IGF) of the council.

According to the Auditor-General, management's defence of the payment of the allowance from the IGF of the council was untenable.

"The management stated that the payment of the single spine salary and market premium arrears started in September 2012 but took retrospective effect from January 2010, a period during which professional allowances had already been paid.”

"They also explained that it was a board decision to pay the pharmacists the professional allowance in lieu of private practice to prevent them from indulging in activities that would create conflict of interest," the latest Auditor-General's report on public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions for the year ended 2014 said.

The explanation was, however, rejected by the Auditor-General whose report maintained that "the professional allowances paid to staff should be retrieved because there was no approval from the Ministry of Finance authorising them to pay such allowances from the IGF. Furthermore, the condition of service of the council did not provide for such allowances."

Management recalcitrant

The report took serious note of the continuous payment of professional allowance to staff of the council from the IGF in spite of directives to desist from the act.

"In spite of persistent recommendations in our previous reports and Section 5 (a&c) of the Retention of Funds Act, 2007 (Act 735), our scrutiny of the payment vouchers showed that management continues to pay professional allowance from the IGF without budgeting for it.”

"The allowances were also not directly related to provision of services that would lead to revenue generation as required by the above-mentioned regulation," the report said.

It further noted with concern that the management of the council continued to pay the professional allowances even when the government started paying them the single spine salaries and market premium from August to December 2012.

Calling for the cessation of the practice, the report said, "if not discontinued, it could lead to the distortion of planned activities of the council."

"The above irregularity, which did not only result in duplication of allowances to staff members, also contributed to the deficit of GH¢152,411.78 in the income statement of the council. The operations of the council resulted in a deficit of GH¢152,411.78 in the year under review as against a surplus of GH¢101,954.70 in the previous year," the report said.


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