Accountants Blow GH�277,000

Accounting officers and revenue collectors in 41 District Assemblies have misappropriated an amount of GH�277,000 (�2.77 billion) out of revenue collected between 2001 and 2004. However, only GH�326 (�3.26 million) has so far been recovered. The lapse, which was as a result of poor supervision, took place in assemblies such as Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Tema Municipal Assembly, Ho, Amansie East, Obuasi Municipal Assembly, Nkoranza South, Tamale Metropolitan Assembly, Bawku West, Wa Municipal Assembly, Shama Ahanta East, Awutu/Efutu Senya and Afram Plains. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has therefore ordered the prosecution of the accounting officers and revenue collectors. It has also called on the management of the various assemblies to sanction their supervisors for allowing the lapse to occur. The Chairman of PAC, Albert Kan-Dapaah made this known when he presented a motion on the Report of PAC on the report of the Auditor-General on the accounts of the District Assemblies internally generated funds for the four financial years ended 31st December 2004 in parliament yesterday. The committee further recommended that �all revenues outstanding should be recovered from the accounting officers and revenue collectors as well as their supervisors. A report on actions taken should be submitted to the Committee.� On the issue of questionable outsourcing of revenue to private companies, the chairman of PAC stated that some assemblies outsourced part of their revenue collection functions to agencies that were paid between 20 percent and 80 percent of collections accounted for. He said the collection of levies at lorry parks, property rates on houses and government buildings were outsourced. �The auditors observed that the outsourcing was done on non-competitive basis and without any clearly established guidelines and sometimes without formal contracts. Further, most areas outsourced were areas where the Assemblies own revenue collectors could have collected the revenue easily,� Hon. Kan-Dapaah added. He therefore called on the Minister for Local Government to look into the issue of outsourcing and come up with guidelines to guide the Assemblies. He said �procurement of services contrary to the provision of the Public Procurement Act is a breach of Act.� �The committee demands that officers responsible for the lapse should be identified and sanctioned in line with the Public Procurement Act,� the Chairman reiterated. He also indicated that in the interim all outstanding amounts should be collected. The Chairman added that �assemblies should also train their revenue collectors and strengthen the supervisory role to ensure that they collect revenue without difficulty.�