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13-Jan-2012  
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Alfred Agbesi Woyome
 
 
 
Reports say pressure is mounting on the Auditor General, Richard Quartei Quartey, to accept that he erred in the figures presented in his 2010 report regarding the controversial judgment debts paid to self-acclaimed financier of the ruling NDC, Alfred Agbesi Woyome.

Sources at the Auditor’s General’s department have hinted that government officials, especially at the presidency, are bent on forcing the Auditor General to admit that he erred in stating in the report that a colossal amount of GH¢41,811,480.59 (almost ₵420billion) was paid to Mr. Woyome on June 4, 2010.

This, according to Daily Guide sources, was part of reasons why on Tuesday, January 10, 2010, Deputy Minister of Information Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, told Accra-based Citi FM that the Auditor General had made a mistake in his 2010 report and pointed to the existence of some letters from the Auditor General’s Department to the Finance Ministry admitting errors.

A statement issued by the Auditor-General and signed on his behalf by the Director of Public Relations of the Public Service, one Reverend Joseph Ghunney, said, “in 2010, two payment orders were made towards the settlement of claims for Alfred Agbesi Woyome” and that “the first payment order for GH¢41, 811,480.59 was issued on the 6th of April 2010.”

On September 22,2010, another payment order for GH¢17, 094,493.54 was issued and paid to Woyome.

In effect, the statement said “in 2010, only one payment involving an amount of GH¢17, 094,493.45 was made to Mr. Woyome and not GH¢58, 905,974.13.”

In an interesting yet surprising twist, the Auditor-General stated that “correspondence on the reversal of the GH¢41, 811, 480.59 was not attached to the original order in the books of the Controller and Accountant General and was therefore not available to the team of auditors from the office of the Auditor-General who conducted the audit of the public accounts maintained by the Controller and Accountant General.”

That notwithstanding, the Auditor-General has indicated that any payments made in 2011 would be examined during the audit of the Consolidated Fund for 2011.

However, GH¢41, 811, 480.59 paid to Woyome and captured in the 2010 Auditor General’s report indicated that the payment was ordered on June 4, 2010 and not April 6, 2010 as stated in the press statement issued yesterday.
 





Vice Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa-West, Kwaku Agyemang Manu
But Vice Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament and Member of Parliament (MP) for Dormaa-West, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, has expressed extreme surprise at the development, considering the fact that the report has already been laid before the House of Parliament.

“I am a bit surprised because this thing started and there was public outcry on it; nobody came out to say anything so if there is an error, they should bring documentation to establish that there was indeed an error.

“He cannot touch the report until during the hearing and members of the Committee would want to satisfy their curiosity. So it is not as simple as that,” he noted when contacted by DAILY GUIDE on Wednesday.

The Auditor-General’s report stated that on June 4th 2010, an amount of GH¢41,811,480.59 was paid to Alfred Woyome “for the settlement of the claim involving the rehabilitation of three (3) stadia”.

The same report indicated that an additional amount of GH¢17, 094,493.54 was paid to Mr. Woyome on 22nd September 2010 for unstated reasons, bringing the total payments to the man in the year 2010 to GH¢58,905, 974.13 (¢590billion).

This was the figure put out in the report until last Monday, when Ghanaians were made aware of a further GH¢34million paid to Mr. Woyome in 2011, having received GH¢10 million in January 2011, an additional GH¢10million in April and a final instalment of GH¢14million in September 2011, bringing total payments to GH¢92million (¢920billion).

Should the Auditor General cede to the overwhelming pressure being brought to bear on him, it would mean that the total payments to Mr. Woyome till date would be GH¢51million instead of GH¢93million.

It would also mean that in the year 2010, the government paid Mr. Woyome only GH¢17million and not the almost GH¢59million as was documented earlier.

Some consider this latest attempt to scrap the GH¢42million paid on June 4th 2010 to Mr. Woyome as an attempt by government to defuse arguments on why it hastily paid Mr. Woyome such huge monies even though the High Courts had stayed payment and ordered for only GH¢17million to be paid pending the court’s decision.

So far, Mr. Richard Quartei Quartey is said to be resolute and unwilling to admit that he erred in the figures as he is being pressured to do.

What makes the current attempt to reduce the amounts paid to Mr. Woyome baffling is the fact that procedurally, the Auditor General submits copies of his report to the Ministry of Finance, the Accountant General and agencies for corrections before it is finally submitted to Parliament.

Questions have been asked as to why no one, including the Auditor General, the Finance Ministry and the Accountant General, detected the ‘mistake’ which has to do with the GH¢42million.

Moreover, the man who collected the money had never challenged the figures put out in the various interviews granted to the media.

The Auditor General submitted his report to Parliament on 30th June 2011, over six months ago and it therefore baffles many why for over six months, the Auditor General and all concerned did not see the mistake being suggested by government.

Meanwhile, when officials of the Auditor-General’s department met with the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament last Saturday, 7th January 2012 in Kumasi, and the issue about the infamous Alfred Woyome judgment debt came up, they did not indicate that there were errors in the report.

The errors only came up this week when it came to light that Mr Woyome had received additional payments last year.
 
Source: Daily Guide/Ghana
 
 

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