Auditor-General identifies financial irregularities in Pre-University Institutions

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The 2020 Auditor-General Report on the public accounts of Ghana has made significant findings of financial irregularities in Pre-University Educational Institutions in the Ahafo Region.

The report cited 17 institutions, consisting of eleven Senior High Schools (SHS), one College of Education, two Senior High Technical Schools, one Special School and two Vocational Schools in the Ahafo Region.

These institutions submitted their annual accounts and financial statements for validation within the statutory deadline of February 28, 2021.

According to the Auditor-General, the irregularities identified included; misappropriation of funds, unaccounted for payments, uncompetitive procurement, payment of unearned salaries to separated staff, unaccounted for stores and statutory tax infractions.

These irregularities, the AG said, resulted, generally from the lack of commitment on the part of the Head of the Institutions to ensure compliance with established internal controls and regulations governing the management of financial resources.

The Report for the year ended December 31, 2020, revealed that the Accountant of Derma SHS could not account for GHS8,625.00 out of total bursary payments of GHS18,000.00, and hence recommended for the recovery of the outstanding amount from the school’s accountant.

The report said, the Accountant of the OLA Girls High School paid GHS3,824.00 meant for 39 officers to one beneficiary without requesting for authority notes from 38 others, and thus, recommended the accountant to produce the authority notes from the beneficiary officers or refund the amount.

According to the report, “three institutions paid a total of GHS216,406.84 for works and repairs without evidence to provide assurance of satisfactory completion of work done,” and requested the said amount be recovered from the Headmaster and accountant.

The report stated that the Headmaster of Bomaa SHS engaged and paid GHS 8,230.00 as remuneration to four casual workers without obtaining the necessary approval from the Ministry of Education or the Governing Board.

Also, the report said, “Management of Sankore SHS made physical cash payment of GHS83,971.00 to suppliers and other third parties instead of effecting payments through electronic transfer or cheque as required,” and thus recommended for the right procedure to be followed to ensure transparency in the school’s Financial Management System.

The Management of St. Joseph’s College of Education, the report averred, failed to recover a total advance of GHS11,250.00 granted to 21 staff of the College, and stated that management of the College spent GHS73,895.10 on construction of lecture theatre but failed to provide total expenditure on date on the project valued at GHS199,859.00.

The school’s management has, therefore, been asked to keep a register to track every expenditure made on the project to ensure transparency, effective monitoring, excessive payments and proper accountability.

The report further noted that without an official contract of engagement, “Management of the St. Joseph’s College of Education engaged the services of Amasko Enterprise to provide Labour for the construction of a new lecture hall at a cost of GHS32,845.00,”

The Report called on the management to complete a Service Level Agreement with the contractor to ensure its effective and efficient execution.

The 2020 report said, Management of Ahafoman SHS failed to collect total rent of GHS1,885.00 from ten occupants thereby denying the school funds for maintenance, and therefore asked management to, without further delay, recover the rent arrears.

The report noted the payment of unearned salaries of GHS1,982.08 and GH?4,123.50 to two separate staff of the Bechem School for the Deaf and Boakye Tromo SHS respectively, and recommended the Heads of the institution and salary validators to refund the amount if the unearned salaries could not be recovered from the beneficiaries or their next of kin.

The report stated that management of Bechem Presby SHS could not account for fuel and lubricants purchased amounting to GHS8,264.00, while the management of Ahafoman SHS could not produce a 49-inch flat screen TV at the staff common room for audit inspection.

The Management of Sankore SHS, the report noted, could not account for stores worth GHS13,724.00, and thus recommended the Headmaster, Accountant and Storekeeper to jointly account for the lost stores.

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