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Mustapha Ahmed and Gilbert Seidu Iddi
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The 2012 Auditor General’s Report has made interesting revelations about how the Savannah Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) funds were blown by some top officials of the authority.

The top officials had spent a whopping GH¢69,840.00 on a trip to Birmingham, England and Berlin, Germany, without recourse to the Tender Entity Committee, according to the audit report.

On another issue, the report cited Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, a Minister of State at the Presidency, Alhassan Andani who is the SADA Board Chairman and MD of Stanbic Bank as well as former SADA Chief Executive, Alhaji Gilbert Seidu Iddi for expending a whopping $13,938.00 on a trip to the United States.

The report revealed how GH¢69,840.00 was paid to Kasmed Seed Company to organize business trips to Birmingham and Berlin for three officers at SADA even though the company is not a travel and tour agency.

“We noted that management paid GH¢69,840.00 to Kasmed Seed Company to organize business trips to Birmingham and Berlin for three officers of SADA without prior approval from the Board even though the cost of the trip was above the threshold of the CEO.

“We also noted that Kasmed Seed Company is not a travel and tour agency but management released such a colossal amount to the company based only on the budget submitted by the company for the trip,” the report added.

In schedule 3 (3) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663), the threshold of the head of an entity in the procurement of technical services is up to GH¢5,000 and expenditure between GH¢50,000 and GH¢100,000 needs approval from the Entity Tender Committee; but these laid-down procedures were ignored.

According to the Auditor General’s report, “The situation occurred because of weak control over the disbursement of the SADA funds which is meant to alleviate poverty within the SADA zone.”

It said, “In order to ensure value for money in service delivery, we urged management to always adhere to the provisions in the Public Procurement Act, 2003, (ACT663) in future transactions. We also recommended to management to produce all the supporting documents covering the trip for our examination.”

The report said when SADA was queried about the amount, the management explained that the trip was undertaken to acquaint the members with marketing opportunities in Birmingham and Berlin.

On the United States trip, the report said, “We noted that management released an amount of $20,000 to three individuals to attend the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, but failed to account for the hotel accommodation and accountable imprest components of the amount totalling $13,938.00.”

In the report, Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed took $2,100 as per diem and another $2,100 as hotel accommodation, while Alhassan Andani took $2,100 as per diem, another $2,100 as hotel accommodation and $7,638.00 as accountable imprest, making a total of $11,838.00.

Also, Alhaji Iddi took $1,862.00 as per diem, $2,100 for hotel accommodation making a total of $3,962.00.

According to the report, the three officials spent a total of $20,000.00 on the US trip.

The report said, “Management’s failure to insist on proper accountability of the funds granted caused the irregularity,” adding, “This practice can give room for financial impropriety.”

“We recommended that the officers concerned be made to produce the necessary receipts and invoices to authenticate the expenditure said to have been incurred, failure of which they should be made to refund the amount to chest,” the report stated.

In another instance, SADA in 2012, organized a trip for three officials to Turkey on behalf of some district assemblies.

Seidu Iddi, Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed and Mahama Shaibu, an executive assistant at SADA, travelled to Turkey at a cost GH¢226,000 (¢2.26bn) to SADA.

The trip, according to SADA management, was meant to facilitate sister-city relationships on behalf of some district assemblies.

The audit report stated that the trip did not fall within SADA’s mandate and did not bring any benefit to the Authority.

The report also said the ¢226,000 spent on the trip was not approved by the SADA board and recommended that Mr. Iddi be surcharged with the amount.
Source: William Yaw Owusu/Daily Guide

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