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General News of Saturday, 21 August 2021

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Agenda 111: We will trigger recall of Parliament over GH¢600m saga - NDC warns

Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, NDC MP for Juaboso Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, NDC MP for Juaboso

• The opposition NDC are pushing for more clarity on government spending

• Their demands are in relation to GH¢600 million expended on Agenda 111 project

• The party says it will trigger a recall of Parliament toprobe the issue if need be


The main opposition National Democratic Congress, NDC, have hinted that they will consider processes to recall Parliament over government's lack of clarity on GH¢600 million the NDC insists has been expended on the Agenda 111 project.

An August 20, 2021 statement from the Minority Caucus said an explanation from the Ministry of Finance over the issue has further muddied the waters hence the need for a Parliamentary probe if need be.

The statement signed by Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, MP for Juaboso & Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health, also posed four questions seeking better particulars from the Finance Ministry.

They have also tasked the Auditor-General as a matter of urgency to constitute an audit with reputable international firms leading to get to the bottom of the mater.

The threat to trigger a recall of the house was contained in the final paragraph which read: "We also wish to serve notice that, if the Auditor General fails to Act within 2 weeks, we will have no option than to start the processes of collecting enough signatures from Members of Parliament to trigger a recall of Parliament so that a committee of Parliament can investigate the Missing GH₵600 million from the consolidated fund."



Below are details of the Minority’s statement:

For Immediate Release:

MINORITY STATEMENT ON THE MISSING GH¢600 MILLION FROM THE CONSOLIDATED FUND SINCE 2020.

The Minority in Parliament has read with utmost shock and alarm a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance in response to its recent call for accountability for an amount of GH¢600million released or utilized in 2020 for the management of AGENDA 111 projects.

Although the statement in itself did not address the entirety of concerns raised in our press statement regarding the sufficiency of allocations, the appropriacy of the implementing agency (Office of the President) and the propriety of procurement methods leading to the award of contracts; we find the explanations on the GH¢600million expenditure rather bizarre to say the least.

The statement is alarming in that it raises even more concerns about the chain of custody of the GH¢600 million allocated for AGENDA 111 projects. We therefore put forward a few questions:

1. Did the government release GH₵600 million for Agenda 111 in 2020 as per the Ministry of Finance’s statement and when did this happen? Why was this not captured in the 2021 Budget?

2. Which agency of government is implementing Agenda 111 and is that agency different from the agency holding custody of funds for the same project? Why?

3. Are funds purported to be lodged at the Ghana Infrastructure Investment Fund meant for investment management or they are lodged there to be made available to the implementing agency on demand?

4. Assuming that funds have been released for Agenda 111 projects, what has been the chain of custody of the funds since they left the Consolidated Accounts at the BoG?

5. Can the government, without releasing funds from the Bank of Ghana to the implementing agency admit to having released same and present same to parliament and the people of Ghana?

Government’s communication and explanations leads to a rather unfortunate conclusion that the government is hiding the truth about the GH₵600 million expenditure and from all the contradictions, it may be that the GH₵600 million is Missing.

In view of the above, we call on the Auditor General to immediately constitute an Audit team involving the services of a reputable international Audit Firm such as Price Waterhouse coopers (PWC), to immediately Audit the processes leading to the supposed transfer and the expenditure of the GH¢600 million between the Ministry of Finance, the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, the Bank of Ghana, the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Chief of Staff to ascertain the veracity of the claims of the Ministry of Finance.

We also wish to serve notice that, if the Auditor General fails to Act within 2 weeks, we will have no option than to start the processes of collecting enough signatures from Members of Parliament to trigger a recall of Parliament so that a committee of Parliament can investigate the Missing GH¢600 million from the consolidated fund.

Kwabena Mintah Akandoh (MP)

MP for Juaboso & Ranking Member on the Parliamentary Select Committee on Health

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