By Patrick Biddah
The National Democratic Congress, has marked some appointees of the Akufo-Addo government for prosecution if it wins power in 2024.
One of such appointees, is the Chief Executive Officer of the National Food Buffer Stock Company Limited, Hanan Abdul Wahab
His crime is the over-invoicing in what the NDC described as shady deals in the Auditor General’s report concerning the Covid-19 funds.
Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, the National Communication Officer of the party, Mr SammyGyamfi, indicated that the Covid-19 funds was dissipated by appointees of Akufo-Addo and became an avenue for stealing.
“ The free-for-all abuse of COVID-19 funds as gleaned from the Auditor-General’s report took the form of various shady schemes. One of such underhand dealings was the case of over-invoicing by the National Food Buffer Stock Company”, he pointed out
“The Auditor General found that between April 2020 and September, 2020, the company received three payments totaling GHS42,237,770.00, whereas waybills from various institutions which received these supplies amounted to only GHS40,831,685.00, thereby leading to over-invoicing of GHS1,406,085.00”, he noted.
This Mr. Gyamfi finds regrettable and had thought , exercising his power to surcharge and disallow those responsible, the Auditor-General rather recommended to the CEO of the National Food Buffer Stock Company to refund the excess amount paid to the company.
“This, we find very objectionable from the report. We hereby serve notice to the CEO of the Buffer Stock Company to in his own interest refund the said funds immediately or consider himself a candidate for prosecution when power changes hands”, he warned.
The Auditor-General’s report reveals that, Ghana benefitted immensely from unprecedented inflow of funds from various sources, such as the World Bank, the International Monitory Fund, the Africa Development Bank, the European Union, the Contingency Fund and the sale of BOG-COVID-19 Bonds among others. These funds, the report estimates to amount to a total of Twenty-One Billion, Eight-hundred and forty-four million, One-hundred and eighty-nine thousand, one-hundred and eighty-five Ghana Cedis, twenty-four pesewas (GHS 21,844,189,185.24).
These notwithstanding, the report observed that out of the total amount of GHS21.8 billion that accrued to the Government of Ghana, only GHS11, 750,683,059.11 was spent on COVID-19 activities, while the rest of the money (precisely GHS10, 093,506,126.13) was spent on so-called “budget support”.
According to Mr Gyamfi, however, the NDC are very concerned, that despite the dire economic crises confronting the nation, the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government has neglected and failed to retrieve an outstanding amount of $81.8 million paid for vaccines that were not supplied , which could have been channeled into other developmental ventures to ameliorate the plight of suffering Ghanaians.
The Communication Officer who outlined a number of infractions also pointed to the payment of monies for insurance for health workers without any documentation.
“The Auditor-General’s report reveals how the Ministry of Health recklessly paid an amount of GHS10,309,919.94 as premium for Special Life Insurance Cover for 10,000 frontline Health Workers without any Life Insurance Policy document and beneficiary list” , he added.
“We find it intriguing, how such a huge life insurance premium was arrived at without a beneficiary list detailing names of beneficiaries, their dates of birth and other relevant information which should have formed the very basis of the premium”, he asked.
On the issue of the purchase of 26 ambulances, he said the Auditor-General’s report also details how the Government of Ghana through the Ministry of Health paid an amount of US$607,419.02 in the year 2022 for the supply of twenty six (26) Toyota Hiace Deluxe Ambulances valued at a total cost of US$4,049,460.12.
These vehicles ,he quoted the Auditor General as saying should have been delivered on 15th January, 2022 but are yet to arrive a year down the line .
“The irony here, ladies and gentlemen, is that, the man at the center of this scandal, Health Minister Kweku Agyemang Manu, is currently in court as the state’s principal witness in a case brought against the former Deputy Finance Minister, Hon. Ato Forson”, he said .
In his estimation the Covid-19 pandemic was a period where Akufo-Addo and his appointees schemed to siphon funds at the expense of the poor Ghanaian.