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General News
4.5 Trillion Cedis Overdrawn From Govt Chest 2/2/2007
AN amount of ¢4.5 trillion was drawn from government accounts in 2005 without recourse to the financial regulations.

Consequently, the government’s consolidated bank account recorded a negative balance, the Auditor-General’s report on Public Accounts for 2005 has shown.

Mr. Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, made this known in Parliament yesterday when moving for the adoption of the report.

Loans totalling ¢6.7 trillion granted to some subvented organisations, he said, could also not be accounted for.

The overdrawn money was attributed to "the numerous bank accounts maintained by ministries, departments, agencies and assemblies which makes bank reconciliation difficult."

Mr Sallas-Mensah, therefore urged the Finance Ministry and the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD) to take measures to check overdrawing of public funds.

He also called for the establishment of the Financial Administration Tribunals to deal with all cases of financial impropriety as contained in the Financial Administration Act, so as to bring sanity into public expenditure.

He referred to the committee report as stating of the Auditor-General’s report that the overdrawn cash could not be "substantiated" and that there was no qualifying information to support it as provided by section 191(a) of L.1. 1802.

Mr. Sallas-Mensah said in 2004, the overdrawn cash balance was c5.6 trillion, which was a reduction of about c900 billion over the 2005 figure.

Officials from the Finance Ministry stated that the problem had to do with the enforcement of Regulation 15 of L.1. 1802 and had accordingly instructed all district treasuries to work with the revenue agencies to resolve the issue.

He noted that Regulation 15 of the L.1 required of any public officer holding public and trust monies to issue receipts for them and lodge same into the relevant public Fund Bank Account within 24 hours of receipts.

Officials of the CAGD had attributed the overdrawn cash balance to the numerous bank accounts maintained by the ministries and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies which made reconciliation difficult.

The committee recommended to the Auditor-General to assist the CAGD to thoroughly investigate the overdrawn cash balance and submit reports and recommendations towards its clearance .

The Auditor-General according to the committee report noted that the Finance Ministry and the CAGD figures pertaining to loan transactions differed in several respects.

"From a sample of 25 loan-debtors, CAGD had a total figure of c742.1 billion whereas Finance Ministry had a figure of c2.4 trillion, a difference of c1.7 trillion," Mr. Sallas-Mensah said.

On revenue performance, Mr Salas-Mensah gave revenue recorded in 2005 as c30,325.7 billion as against a target projection of c29,881.3 billion, a favourable variance of c444.4 billion.

Touching on the liabilities of the consolidated fund, he said the domestic debt for 2005 was c17.5 trillion as against c16.8 trillion recorded in 2004, an increase of c698.8 billion.

The foreign debts, in 2005 and 2004 according to the committee’s report, were c39.1 trillion and c60.3 trillion respectively, a reduction of c21.2 billion.

The total domestic and foreign debt for 2005 stood at c56.7 trillion whilst the 2005 figure was c77.2 trillion, a decrease of c20.5 billion, Mr. Sallas-Mensah said.

Members in their contributions urged the house to assert its financial oversight responsibilities over MDAs and monitor to see what actions had been taken to address anomalities in the financial administration as noted in past report.

Ghanaian Times

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