COVID Cash Chop Chop: NDC Calls For Probe
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has chided the Akufo-Addo government over the alleged mismanagement of funds meant for the country’s fight against COVID-19.
This comes on the back of a recent report of the Auditor-General on a Special Audit of the Government of Ghana’s Covid-19 expenditure for the period March 2020 to June 2022.
Addressing a press conference at the party’s headquarters on Wednesday, February 1, 2023, under the “Moment of Truth” series, the NDC’s National Communications Officer, Sammy Gyamfi outlined what he described as 15 ‘shocking revelations’ contained in the report of the Auditor-General.
The party called for the head of the Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang Manu for impropriety in the purchase of vaccines worth $120,192,379.80 from UNICEF/AVAT after the Auditor-General disclosed that vaccines valued at only $38,322,000 were supplied to the National Cold Storage, meaning $81.8 million worth of vaccines is yet to be delivered.
The party also faulted the use of GH¢10.3 million to purchase Special Life Insurance Cover for 10,000 frontline Health Workers without evidence of Life Insurance Policy document and a list of beneficiaries.
Many had raised questions at the height of the pandemic following various risks faced by frontline Health Workers which resulted in some fatalities.
President Akufo-Addo subsequently announced in one of his addresses of government’s intention to provide life insurance cover for all frontline health workers.
However, the NDC contends that the arrangement that led to the procurement of 30% life insurance cover from Enterprise Insurance was irregular and therefore smacks of some underhand dealing, given the absence of a policy document and list of beneficiaries.
While commenting on the finding of the report on invoices received from various suppliers for the supply of food to the National Food Buffer Stock Company, the party cited the Chief Executive Officer of the National Food Buffer Stock Company for what it calls over-invoicing of waybills, thereby occasioning a loss of GH¢1,406,085.00. The party is therefore calling for the refund of the said funds into the state’s coffers.
Describing the Akufo-Addo government as a “monument of waste and corruption”, Mr. Gyamfi lamented how a contractor working on a holding, treatment, and isolation center at Nalerigu in the North East Region received advanced payments amounting to US$4.5 million, and subsequently abandoned work on the $15 million facility.
Bemoaning the absence of a performance bond or insurance guarantee at the time of awarding the contract, the NDC argues this has occasioned huge financial loss to the state.
As part of demands for a series of actions on the report, the party called on the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to compel the Auditor-General to exercise his power of surcharge and disallowance to “retrieve all COVID-19 funds that have been misapplied or misused through various infractions and veritable acts of criminality”.
Citing the Malawian example in which a Minister of State and nineteen (19) other officials were dismissed for their mishandling of Covid-19 funds, the NDC called on President Akufo-Addo to immediately dismiss the Finance Minister, Health Minister, Kweku Agyemang Menu, CEO of the National Food Buffer Stock Company and other officials who have been cited for what the party alleges are violations of the laws of the country relative to their handling of Covid-19 funds.