By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
A Deputy Ranking Member of the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr. Isaac Adongo has challenged the figures put out by the Minister for Finance, Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta on the Covid-19 expenditure.
According to the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga Central, Ghana’s Minister for Finance was untruthful with the information he shared on the floor of Parliament on June 22, 2022, while accounting for the country’s Covid-19 expenses.
Speaking to the media after the presentation, the Bolgatanga Central MP insisted that there is still the need for further probe into the Covid-19 expenditure to ascertain the actual amount accrued to the government and its expenditure.
“I just don’t know how this man (Ken Ofori-Atta) thought that he will just come and bamboozle us and get away with it. No wonder he has been running away from accountability and from Parliament all this while. People who contested elections openly claimed that they were given allocations of Covid money to spend, yet most of these monies did not even come as free money. People cannot hide behind Covid to plunder the public purse. They must account for it and the more open that process is, the better it is in claiming back the credibility of Parliament and the government architecture we set for ourselves,” Mr. Adongo reiterated.
Meanwhile, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs in the August House, led by the Ranking Member of the Finance Committee have earlier argued that they wanted an ad-hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the government’s expenditures, besides the account rendered by Mr. Ken Ofori-Atta.
The Bolgatanga Central Lawmaker, contended that the Auditor General whom the Majority group in Parliament is asking to take charge of the audit of covid-19 expenditure lacked the capacity to do a thorough job as his work only entails checking for expenditures of ministries, departments, and agencies and not special incidents such as Covid-19 expenditures.
“The argument that the Auditor General will audit the accounts and so that suffices (is not right). The Auditor-General does not produce a special account on COVID-19 and related revenue and expenditures. He only reports the figures of total government expenditure and revenues from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.”
“At this point, we are not looking at those numbers, we are looking at revenues or total mobilization and expenditures in relation to Covid-19 activities and there is no way the Auditor General’s reports can cover those matters so that has to be done by special arrangements. I am happy that the Speaker approved that this be investigated as a special activity,” Mr. Adongo stated.
He further noted that the Speaker of Parliament’s final decision for a joint Health and Finance Committee’s investigation into the expenditure will suffice.
But a Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr. John Ampontuah Kumah says Mr. Ofori-Atta was forthright with his presentation to Members of Parliament on Wednesday June 22, 2022.
Speaking to some members of the Parliamentary Press Corps (PPC) after answering some questions on behalf of the Minister, Mr. Kumah maintained that the Minister or government has nothing to hide.
“We have been transparent in the handling of the Covid-19 funds” he reiterated.