GCPSF describes Auditor-General’s Report as misleading

COVID-19 vaccination card
COVID-19 vaccination card

The Ghana Covid-19 Private Sector Fund (GCPSF) says references contained in the Auditor-General’s management report regarding the Fund are “inaccurate and misleading.”

“We have taken note of the Auditor-General’s management report in reference to the National Covid- 19 Trust Fund (NCTF). The report makes inaccurate and misleading references to the Covid-19 Private Sector Fund (GCPSF). As a transparent and open organisation whose activities are funded by the public, we are concerned by the misrepresentations made…”

A statement issued and signed by Mr Senyo K. Hosi, Managing Trustee, said the GCPSF had had a healthy cooperation with the NCTF which had “ultimately been beneficial to the people of Ghana.”

“We are grateful to the NCTF and proud of the successes attained by the partnership in the provision of public goods,” it added.

The statement said the Fund was “gravely concerned” by the statement made in paragraph 30 of the Auditor-General’s management letter, which suggested that the GCPSF could trade with public funds for personal gains.

“We are a not-for-profit organisation and do not engage in trading. Neither have we suggested, acted, nor purported to engage in commercial activities for which the GCPSF, its trustees, officers, assigns or representatives shall or stand to benefit personally.”

It said the GCPSF operated with very competent structures with reputable partners like KPMG (Fund Accountants), Ernst & Young (Fund Auditors), Stanbic Investment Management Service (Fund Managers), Fidelity Bank and Ecobank (Fund Custodians), Bentsi- Enchill Letsa & Ankomah (Fund Lawyers) and other efficient structures that ensured value for money and compliance.

The statement said NCTF was the largest donor to the Protect and Resource the Frontline (PARF) project, donating GHS10.257million for the supply of medical equipment and PPE to major COVID-19 centres and frontliners.

The statement said NTCF was also a major donor of GHS6.8million to the Facility 100 project that saw the delivery of Ghana’s First Infectious Disease Centre.

To ensure value for money, the statement said GCPSF undertook a transparent and competitive process with officials from the NCTF invited to participate as observers.

It said a procurement report was subsequently submitted to the NTCF for consideration, which served as the basis for the donation.

The statement said GCPSF entered into a donation agreement with the NTCF in May 2020 to provide funding for the GCPSF to acquire and jointly donate the items listed in the procurement report.

It said GCPSF duly received the funds and acquired all the authorised items for joint donation and distribution with the NCTF.

The GCPSF said they renegotiated some contracts following the failure of some contractors to supply the required items on time or meet their quality standards.

The statement said those renegotiations provided opportunities to extract value and achieve savings of GHS254,203 for the project.

“This was reported in our 2020 accounts prepared by KPMG and same shared with the NCTF,” it said.

It said GCPSF drew the attention of the NCTF auditors to the savings and notified the NCTF of its intent to apply the savings towards the acquisition of additional items for COVID-19 centres since the PARF project was still active.

The statement said in conjunction with officials from Noguchi Medical Research Institute (Noguchi), they commenced a procurement process to provide the GIDC laboratory with relevant equipment for it to be upgraded to a level-3 status, comparable to the laboratory at Noguchi.

It said the process commenced in July 2020 and was completed in May 2022 with the award of the relevant contracts worth GHS1.33million.

The statement said the process, just as previous, was “competitive and transparent.”

It said the NCTF PARF donation saving of GHS254,203 was partly applied to fund the acquisition of the lab equipment.

The statement said on July 15, 2022, GCPSF received a letter from the NCTF requesting a refund of the saving citing the recommendation of the Auditor-General’s report for the GCPSF to account for the saving or refund it.

It said prior to that letter and contrary to paragraph 32 of the Auditor-General’s report, they had never been requested to refund the savings.

The GCPSF said they opted to ensure the implementation of the lab upgrade project before completing the accounting process for the saving.

The statement said goods worth GHS557,610 had been delivered as at date with more undergoing clearing at the Tema Port.

It said they had notified the NCTF of the application of the GHS254,203 towards the acquisition of the level-3 lab-required real-time PCR equipment delivered in the past few days.

The statement said in GCPSF’s estimation, the application of the funds in the procurement of that critical equipment for the public good was constructive and effectively addressed the recommendation by the Auditor-General to have them account for the funds, which were unutilised at the time of the audit.

“We have, therefore, requested the NCTF to reconsider its request for a refund. We have further indicated our willingness and ability to make the payment requested if the NCTF so insists after reconsidering its position in the light of the new information we have provided.”

“We are grateful for the public support in the execution of our projects and assure all of our continuous and unflinching commitment to accountability, transparency and value for money in all our activities and endeavours,” it said.

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