Mr Solomon Boar, North East Regional Minister has lauded the Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project for promoting performance audits, which will help to protect the public purse.
He was convinced that performance audits, which involved amongst others assessing actual projects vis-à-vis the contract specifications, would ensure that projects were done according to specification to promote quality, saying that would help to transform the country within the next few years.
He was speaking during a town-hall meeting organised by the Centre for Active Learning and Integrated Development (CALID) at Walewale to present findings of a performance audit conducted by the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) in 2018 on two capital development projects executed by the West Mamprusi Municipal Assembly (WMMA) from 2014 to 2017.
It was attended by officials of WMMA, citizens’ groups and some civil society organisations.
This formed part of the Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM) project being implemented by OXFAM, CARE International, and ISODEC with funding from USAID to strengthen citizens’ oversight of capital development projects to improve on local government transparency, accountability and performance.
The projects included; two three-unit classroom blocks with ancillary facilities at the Buakudow and Namiyela communities.
The performance audit report, which was presented by Mr Abdul Samad Issahaque, Senior Performance Auditor at GAS, showed that the WMMA did not strictly adhere to the Public Procurement Act in the award of the two contracts and the execution of the projects, which led to poor quality of the projects.
Based on the performance audit, a scorecard generated by GSAM project implementers, citizens’ groups and GAS, gave the WMMA an overall score of 55 per cent as assessment of the projects in the areas of project initiation and planning, procurement and contracting, execution, and project benefits to the people.
This score placed the WMMA at 21st position in comparison to 49 other Assemblies in which the GAS conducted the performance audit on capital development projects as part of the GSAM project.
Mr Boar challenged coordinating directors, engineers, and planners at the assemblies and community members to intensify monitoring of projects under construction to ensure that such projects were executed according to specification to ensure quality work to last a long time to serve the needs of the people.
Mr Sayibu Yarifa, West Mamprusi Municipal Coordinating Director, urged staff of the Assembly to follow the rules religiously to avoid flouting the procurement law, which could be dire for their careers, despite the political pressures.
Mr Yarifa advised staff of the Assembly that if any of their superiors pushed them to do something, which would go against the rules, they should “Put it into writing and give it to them to sign and if they refuse to sign it, then do not do it”.
He said “It may cause disaffection for you and possibly transfer, but it is better than destroying your career or landing you in jail”.
Chief Emmanuel Sebiyam, Chief of Namiyela described the forum as an eye-opener expressing hope that the Assembly would henceforth follow the procurement law in awarding contracts to ensure value for money.
Mr Mohammed Awal Sumani Bapio, Executive Director of CALID, advised the people in the area to respect time and attend events on time to help increase productivity.