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Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Group demands forensic audit of Covid-19 expenditure

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Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta

The Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance made up of 34 Civil Society Organisations and 10 individuals of high repute have demanded accountability from government on a number of important national issues.

The CSOs include; the Ghana Integrity Initiative, the Centre for Democratic Development Ghana, Media Foundation for West Africa, Africa Centre for Energy Policy, IMANI Africa, Africa Education Watch, STAR-Ghana, SEND Ghana, Trades Union Congress, Institute for Democratic Governance, One Ghana Movement, Citizens Movement Against Corruption, The Fourth Estate, etc.

The private individuals are; Akoto Ampaw, Martin Kpebu, Samson Lardy Anyenini, Clara Kasser-Tee, Prof Kwame Karikari, Prof. Takyiwaa Manu, Prof. Kofi Abotsi, Kingsley Ofei, Prof. Bokpin and Abdul Karim Mohammed.

The group says it has grave concerns about the prevailing socio-economic conditions and governance issues affecting the country.

The Coalition, among other things, wants the government to put a stop to the Agyapa deal it intends to revise and put before Parliament.

Speaking on behalf of the Coalition at a press conference, Nana Asantewaa Afadzinu, called on the Auditor-General to conduct a forensic audit into the Covid-19 expenditure by the Finance Minister.

“This coalition has closely followed the issues relating to government’s accounting of Covid-19 expenditure. It is imperative that the expenditures made in respect of donations towards alleviating the Covid-19 pandemic for which Ghanaians continue to pay levies, are properly accounted for.

“We welcome the Speaker of Parliament’s ruling to task the Parliamentary Select Committees on Health and Finance to look into reconciling the figures. That will deal with the disbursement made for Covid-19, but it does not deal with the accounting for the actual expenditures which need to be addressed urgently by the Auditor-General,” she stated.

According to the Coalition, in the interest of public accountability, the Auditor-General must act with urgency on this matter.

The other demand by the group is for government to withdraw the Executive Instrument reclassifying portions of the Achimota Forest since they believe some political persons are benefitting from the re-classification.

Director of Advocacy and Policy Engagement at the Centre for Democratic Development, Dr Kojo Asante, said the group will later this week, petition the office of the Auditor-General on the matter of asset and liabilities declaration and forensic auditing of Covid-19 expenditures.

“We will be engaging the Auditor-General, it is an independent office and has a lot of power to ensure that the constitutional obligations are discharged. It is just not acceptable that something that is mandated by the constitution is being ignored for all this while. So that is one area that we will be looking to address and of course also to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources,” he told Evans Mensah on Newsnight, Tuesday.

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