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GH¢447m lost in 10 technical universities – Auditor-General

The Auditor-General detected financial irregularities running into more than GH¢170 million in the ten technical universities across the country in 2019.

That, according to the 2019 Auditor-General’s report, was due to laxity in expenditure control, flagrant disregard for financial regulations pertaining to the disbursement of funds in the Public Sector and failure of Heads of Finance to control the disbursement of funds and authenticate transactions.

Trend analyses show that the GH¢170.614 million financial irregularities recorded in public tertiary institutions in 2019 is the highest since 2015.

In 2017, there were about GH¢92 million financial irregularities in the ten technical universities, with the figure going up to GH¢99 million in 2018 and recording GH¢170 million in 2019.

Trend analyses indicate that in 2015, financial irregularities amounting to over GH¢27 million were recorded, while GH¢57 million was recorded in 2016.

This means that from 2015 to 2019, the ten technical universities alone had recorded over GH¢ 447.355 million financial irregularities.

The irregularities occurred mainly in the areas of procurement, contract, stores, tax, payroll, cash, loans and recoverable charges.

Financial irregularities recorded on outstanding loan recoverable charges amounted to GH¢8,094 million, while cash irregularities were GH¢7,925 million, with payroll irregularities being GH¢ 262 million.

Irregularities on procurement amounted to almost GH¢ 49 million, while contract irregularities amounted to GH¢105 million.

There were also tax and stores irregularities, which amounted to GH¢23 million and GH¢ 3,240 million, respectively.

The institutions involved are the Tamale, Sunyani, Takoradi, Accra, Wa, Kumasi, Koforidua, Ho, Bolgatanga and Cape Coast technical universities.

Audit recommendations

On recovery loan charges, the acting Auditor-General, Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, recommended that management of the Technical Universities and polytechnics should vigorously pursue recovery of the loans granted and resort to legal action, where necessary.

“They should also improve on supervision and ensure that schedule officers update all advances in the records”, he stated.

He said tax irregularities were caused by Finance Officers not diligently acting in accordance with the statutory tax laws, resulting in the non-deduction of withholding tax and delay in the payment of withholding tax to the Ghana Revenue Authority (Domestic Tax Division).

They also related to purchases from non-VAT registered sources and failure to obtain VAT invoices from suppliers, he said.

“I recommended that Finance Officers should strictly adhere to tax laws to ensure that all tax revenues are promptly collected and paid to responsible revenue agencies”, he stated.

He said the store irregularities were caused by the absence of effective stock control system, inappropriate procedures in disposing of stores, as well as poor supervision over stores management.

The acting Auditor General recommended improved supervision over store items, adequate stock control systems to be put in place and strict adherence to provisions in the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (as amended) in disposing of stores.

Mr Asiedu also advised that due diligence be exercised in the award of contracts.

“Management should strengthen controls over contracts and comply with tendering procedures. Officers responsible for the over-payment of contract sums may be surcharged appropriately”, he added.

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