PAC queries MoH, MoFA officials

The Minister of Health, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, and other top officials of the Ghana Health Service, on Tuesday, 29 June 2021, had a hectic time answering questions from the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on issues raised in the 2017 Auditor-General’s report.

The 2017 report on the public accounts of Ghana had established a pattern with which institutions under the Ministry of Health mismanaged public funds meant for development and unearthed deficiencies in using internal controls to monitor these activities.

The committee’s queries today, among others, centred on bad debts, failure to pay internally-generated funds (IGFs) into the public fund, as well as issued relating to unretired imprest and unearned salaries.

Other infractions reported by the Auditor-General were unrecovered bonds, irregular payments of funeral expenses, unrecovered staff advances, misapplication of drug funds in health institutions, unsupported payment vouchers and failure to obtain non-availability certificates.

The report said more than GHS 9,302,800 was, within the period of January 2016 and December 2017, indebted to health institutions under the Ministry of Health by the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA).

Similarly, the management of Achimota and Ridge Hospitals as well as the Adabraka Polyclinic did not recover outstanding debts amounting to GHS 4,582,550.69 that the NHIA owed them in respect of the supply of drugs and services for a period ranging between January 2016 and December 2017.

The management of three institutions, including Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, for instance, also failed to present 58 paid vouchers raised between April and September 2016, totalling GHS1,155,301.62 for examination by the auditors.

Seven health institutions, as of June 2016, collected maintenance fees totalling GHS 476,387.75 but failed to pay them into state coffers while five separated staff of 16 health institutions were paid unearned salaries totalling GHS 587,521.77 between January and November 2016.

The Greater Accra Regional Hospital (Ridge) recorded 49 unsupported payment vouchers totalling GHS205,450 without proper authentication while Achimota Hospital failed to obtain non-availability certificates to the tune of GHS185.10 between February and December 2017.

Deputy Minority Leader and Chairman of the Committee, Mr James Klutse Avedzi, indicated the frustration of the committee’s members, noting that the health institutions continue to violate the rules, procedures and legal requirements in the administration of their funds.

He urged the Ministry to recover and surcharge the Executive Secretary of the Health Training Institutions Secretariat, Mr Christopher Beyere, an amount of GHS 28,000.00, which he wrongfully paid to himself on 13 April 2016 from the IGF for his sister’s funeral.

The Chairman also directed the Ministry to take steps to recover all monies misappropriated and improve upon its accounting and financial systems, since it was established that poor financial management and improper record-keeping remained a hurdle to accountability.×250&!5&btvi=3&fsb=1&xpc=gnMMvYhSqn&p=https%3A//

When officials of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) took their turn before the Committee, it was discovered that poor loan recovery from tractor and equipment beneficiaries from the Architectural and Engineering Services Department of the Ministry, resulted in indebtedness of GHS1,614.650.000

Similarly, an examination of the accounts of four district directorates discovered that four officers received unearned salaries totalling GHS 37,397.91 within the period under review.

However, it came to light that three officials who stole 28 maize sellers procured by the Ministry and valued at GHS 112,000.00 have been handed to the Criminal Investigation Department of the Police Service for prosecution and are currently facing trial