General News of Thursday, 24 January 2013

Source: XYZ

VETTING: We'll audit every judgement debt - Seth Terkper

Finance Minister designate, Seth Terkper has expressed dismay about reports of possible duplicate payment of some judgment debts in the past.

Solicitor-General Ama Abuakuaa Gaisie during Wednesday’s sitting of the Judgment Debt Commission said some beneficiaries of judgment debts in the past few years were overpaid, with some receiving double the amounts due them.

She said the situation had arisen as a result of a lack of coordination between the Attorney General's Department, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which released the funds, and other stakeholders.

Mr. Terkper who was appearing before the vetting committee to be vetted said some processes have been initiated to synchronize the payment module of the ministry across other ministries to deal with such challenges.

“One of the things that as a ministry we will do is to work with the Attorney General’s Department and strengthen the legal department of the ministry of Finance as well as the MMDA’s to ensure that contracts that underlie these works protect the state. We shall also conduct the necessary audits to ensure that judgement debt does not bother the Ghanaian population as it is now,” he assured.

He said the tax payers' money must be protected by the ministry and that a new mechanism known as the Budget and Accounting System has been put in place to ensure that all government transactions are put into one simple system to cut out the duplication of payments.

According to Mr Terkper, his tenure as Minister will ensure that the process of tendering contract formulation will be strengthened to seal the loopholes in the award of contracts.

He also indicated that the ministry will put more emphasis on monitoring of work being undertaken for and on behalf of the country so as to make evaluation of such contracts easy.

Mr. Terkper said the government will go to every length to deepen fiscal discipline in the management of the economy under his leadership in the ministry.

He bemoaned the situation where the ministry has been soft on MMDAs who award contracts outside what has been budgeted and gave the indication that such situations will be a thing of the past.

Mr. Terkper warned that MMDA that overspend will be affected in the next fiscal year per how much was spend outside the budget.

He revealed that “an account payable module (liabilities outstanding)” to keep track of the liabilities of each contractors has been put in place, adding that the ministry will take due cognizance of over expenditure during the hearing of the budget.