Committee Says Assemblies Mismanage Funds

Mr. Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, has appealed to Finance Officers (FOs) and District Coordinating Directors (DCDs) to ensure good management and utilization of assembly monies for the benefit of the people. Mr Agyemang-Manu, who spoke at the close of a three-day sitting of the Committee at Takoradi, said although the government had committed huge sums of money to the assemblies to undertake development projects, such monies were being mismanaged, embezzled or misappropriated by some assembly officials and staff to the detriment of the developmental needs of the people. Mr. Agyeman-Manu said in some cases payments were made without raising any vouchers and where vouchers were raised, they were not backed by the necessary receipts and other documents. In other instances, contractors were fully paid for jobs not executed or fully completed before new ones are started. He said assembly vehicles were recklessly and uncontrollably used without drivers being made to log the trips they undertake to determine the judicious use of fuel. Mr. Agyeman-Manu said such trend would no longer be allowed to continue in this fragile state of the country`s economy, adding that the Committee would make recommendations to Parliament that in future DFOs and DCDs who submit Payment Vouchers not supported by the necessary receipts and documents would be surcharged with the amount involved. Furthermore, DFOs and DCDs who failed to allow Assembly drivers to log their trips would be surcharged with the cost of fuel. He advised the Assemblies to report staff members who embezzled Assembly funds to the police and to initiate civil action against those staffs for the recovery of the embezzled amount. Mr. Agyeman-Manu said there had been improvement in the operations of the Assemblies as there had not been too many serious offences and expressed the hope that the situation would further be improved. He explained that the Committee decided to move its sittings to the regions because it wanted the people in the districts to know how the assemblies in their areas were performing. Mr. Agyeman-Manu said from Takoradi, the Committee would move to Northern Region and end up in the Volta Region.