The Ghana Audit Service has found out several financial irregularities allegedly committed by top officials of the Kumasi Metropolitan (KMA) Assembly in the Ashanti Region.
The infractions occurred under the leadership of Osei Assibey Antwi, the current Mayor of the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly, who is seeking to be retained for the position in President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s second term in office.
The financial impropriety has to do with how the Assembly utilised its allocation of the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) and other statutory disbursements made available to the KMA by the central government.
Some of the infractions included the payment of GH₵670,720.78 as judgment debt from the DACF instead of the internally generated fund of the Assembly, the overpayment of contract sums, failure to pay contractors leading to delay in completion of projects, among others.
“We noted that management of KMA used the District Assembly Common Fund (DACF) allocations to settle judgment debts totaling GH₵670,720.78 to four (4) contractors instead of paying from the IGF. In all cases, the Assembly defaulted in payment of contractual debts which the contractors sought legal action against the Assembly and Court awarded judgment debts in favour of the contractors. We recommended that, the penalty for default should be refunded from the IGF to the DACF of the Assembly to be used for development projects,” the report dated March 19, 2021, indicated
“We noted that, Management awarded six (6) projects amounting to GH₵619,153.32 but failed to ensure that the projects were completed on schedule. Management in the course of the construction paid a total amount of GH¢193,826.88 to the contractors, leaving an outstanding balance of GH₵425,326.44. Management attributed this anomaly to lack of funds. We entreated management to ensure that priority is given to these projects for completion before new ones are awarded. We shall not hesitate to recommend that management be surcharged with the cost of any avoidable variations to the original contracts sum if management fails to comply with our recommendation,” the audit report added.
The report, which covered January to December 2020, also indicted the former Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso, Kennedy Kwasi Kankam for transferring his share of the DACF to a private bank and distributing it as loans to his constituents.
The Audit Service observed that no efforts have been put in place to retrieve the loans from the beneficiaries.
“The [then] Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso (Hon. Kennedy Kwasi Kankam) together with erstwhile Finance Officer (Mr Daniel Kofi Kankam) and Coordinating Director (Mr Samuel Donkor) transferred a total amount of GH₵500,000.00 from the MPs Constituency Labour Project Fund and Social Investment Fund to Barclays Bank Ghana Limited (currently Absa Bank Ltd.), Kroform Branch Suspense Account for onward disbursement to 430 people on loan, recoverable by August 2020.”
“But as at January 2021 no recovery had been made, thus exposing the Assembly to a high risk of losing the GHȼ500,000.00, which could have funded projects to the benefit of the entire community.”
The Audit Service recommended that Mr. Kankam, and the officials involved, should “take steps to recover the amount into the KMA Member of Parliament for Nhyiaeso’s Common Fund account”.
With regard to the contract sum overpayment, the Audit Service said contrary to the above regulation, management of the Assembly paid a total amount of GH₵607,186.00 instead of the contract sum of GH₵585,404.16 resulting in overpayment of GH₵21,781.84 to a contractor undertaking a project in the metropolis.
“No justification was provided by the management for the excess payment in the form of variation, material price fluctuation claim or additional works.”
The report recommended that the officials “who approved the payment be jointly held liable to refund the amount.”
By: Stella Annan |myactiveonline.com