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General News of Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Source: Graphic.com.gh

PAC summons former Trade Fair CEO over missing GHC300,000 payment vouchers


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The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) has summoned a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Trade Fair Company (GTFC) Limited, Dr Ebenezer Erasmus Okpoti Koney, to appear before the committee to explain the circumstances under which thieves allegedly broke into offices of the centre and stole payment vouchers totalling about GHc300,000.

He is to appear with a former accountant of the centre whose name was only given as Mr Brown in whose office the payment vouchers were allegedly stolen.

The Chairman of the PAC, Mr James Avedzi, gave the order today (Tuesday) when the current CEO of the company, Dr Agnes Adu, appeared before the committee to respond to queries raised in the 2016 Auditor General's report about the centre.

Dr Adu indicated that during the auditing of the company in 2014, the auditors could not trace the payment vouchers amounting to GHc300,000.

She said per the Auditor General's report, the auditors were told that payment vouchers were stolen from the accountant's office.

Unsatisfied with that explanation, Mr Avedzi directed the clerk to the PAC to invite Mr Okpoti and Brown to appear before the committee to respond to the queries relating to the missing payment vouchers.

Mismanagement

On the management of the company, Dr Adu said the company was poorly managed for about a decade till she took over in April, 2017.

She said the bad management resulted in the disconnection of electricity due to indebtedness for three and salary arrears for 18 months.

Dr Adu said she had started transforming the company as she had cleared the electricity bills and restored power to centre and paid all the 18 months salary arrears.

She said the GTFC had not filed annual tax returns since 1999, but she was working to right the wrongs.

But the committee members argued that the centre could not be said to be in turn around mode since it was not making profit while the structures were in a state of deterioration.

Rents

Touching on rents, Dr Adu confirmed that the grounds at the GTFC had not since any renovation since the building of the centre in 1967.

As a result, she said, the grounds were quite deteriorated, which it difficult to charge market rates.

"The Trade Fair was built in the 1960s and nothing had been done about the building", she said.

Dr Adu said three years ago, some tenants were paying 50 pesewas per square metre, while others were paying GHc2.

She said she had since increased the rent per a square to GHc4.

Salary denial

Dr Adu denied media reports that she was taking GHc200,000 as her salary, saying "absolutely not", but did not mention how much she was taking.

She said the salary of the CEO of the GTFC was determined by the Board of the company, which was a public record.

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