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General News of Monday, 23 September 2019


Payment to Kroll & Associate was backed by contractual agreement - Information Minister

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah play videoInformation Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

THE Ministry of Finance will later this week serve notice to the Auditor General (A-G) to challenge an audit finding regarding the former’s payment of some $1 million to debt recovery firm, Kroll and Associate.

The A-G had alleged that the Finance Ministry paid the debt recovery firm “without evidence of work.”

The said finding was published in the AG's report on the account of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for the period ending December 31, 2018.

On page 27 of the A-G's report issued in June 2019, the A-G stated that Kroll & Associate was paid for no work done.

"During our review of the contract of Kroll Associate, we noted that though there was no evidence of work done, the Ministry of Finance in 2018 paid an amount of US$1 million (equivalent of GH¢4,890,000) to the company," according to the A-G.

The A-G noted that payment had been made several months to Kroll before an official contract was signed in September 2017.

However, the Ministry of Finance, according to Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, reported that it will have to get details from the office of the Senior Minister which was the appropriate office that executed the transaction.

However, he said, prior to furnishing the Audit team with a report, the audit into the matter was completed and a report published to the effect that there was no evidence of work for the payment of the $1 million.

Auditor General is further reported to have gone public and announced this finding to the mass media as though it is a concluded non-negotiable fact, Mr Nkrumah said.

"The Constitutional practice is that the report is submitted to Parliament and affected MDAs invited to respond."

The Ministry of Finance believes that at least if this constitutional path was followed, it would have had the opportunity to respond at the next legally appropriate forum and explain as follows: the transaction is properly backed by an agreement that took effect on February 13, 2017 pursuant to a letter of intent of February 2, signed by the Government of Ghana.

This letter of intent was further included in an agreement dated 29th, September 2019, he explained.

"Additionally, the office of the Senior Minister responded to the MOF query to the effect that since September 2017, Kroll has been working with the GOG to undertake extensive and thorough investigations of allegations of wrong doing, and providing evidence of assets recoveries for possible prosecution."

The finding to the effect that there is no contract or that there is irregularity in documentation that no work has been done is wrong,
He said "ordinarily, MOF would have wanted to go to parliament and explain itself, however, since Auditor General has gone public, MOF is obliged to also explain to the public even before parliament to cure that wrong impression."

The Finance Ministry, he said, will address all these properly with the necessary documents.

"We encourage all to follow due process. The transaction is backed by a well-chronicled agreement. There is evidence of work done. There are no irregularities in documentation," he added.

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