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General News of Monday, 29 October 2007

Source: Cynthia Boakye

Ministry to explain ¢1.36bn expenses

The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative has been ordered by the Public Accounts Committee to provide the list of persons who benefited from salaries and fees amounting to ¢1.36bn.

During its sitting last Friday, it came to light that between May 2003 and 2004 the Ministry paid ¢1.36bn to personnel as fees and salaries from Government of Ghana funds. The Auditor General during investigations could not ascertain the basis for the payments.

According to Chairman of the PAC Samuel Sallas-Mensah, the Auditor General could also not find relevant documents on contacts and appointment letters to specify remunerations to be paid to employees.

The PSI project that effected the payments did not also have approved scales by which salary payments were to be determined.

The Minister, Joe Baidoo Ansah indicated in his response that the PSI inherited the project from the United Nations Development Fund and at the time they had to pay the workers the same amount they were being paid by the UNDP so they took some money from the GoG and later wrote to the head of Civil Service to seek directions on the issue.

Members of the Committee expressed their dissatisfaction with the Minister's answer. The chairman directed that all documents pertaining to the said project be forwarded to the PAC by Wednesday, when the committee is expected to wind up their sittings after investigating the nation’s ministries, departments and agencies, to better inform them on their decision on the matter.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation, the nation’s public broadcaster has resumed live broadcast of the public hearings of the Committee’s sittings.