The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has asked President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to remove from office government officials found by the Auditor-General to have misappropriated COVID-19 Funds.
It also demanded that the Special Prosecutor investigated officials cited in the report for wrongdoing and bring them to book.
The Party made the call at a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, addressed by its National Communications Officer, Mr Sammy Gyamfi.
Mr Gyamfi noted that the Auditor General’s report, spanning the period March 2020 to June 2022, revealed that Ghana benefitted greatly from inflows of funds from both local and international sources, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Africa Development Bank and the sale of Bank of Ghana COVID-19 Bonds.
According to the report, Ghana mobilised GH¢21,844,189,185.24 to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
“We must emphasis here that this amount excludes other COVID-related funds such as the $1 billion facility from the International Monetary Fund, being Ghana’s share of IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR) to boost post-COVID economic recovery of member countries. The Auditor General’s estimate also excludes the over GH¢62 million that accrued to the COVID-19 Trust Fund which was established by an Act of Parliament to help mobilise funds to complement government’s fight against the pandemic,” he indicated.
Mr Gyamfi said per the report, a significant portion of the amount realised was, however, not used for the intended purposes.
He noted that, the Auditor General’s report observed that, out of the over GH¢21.8 billion that accrued to the State, only GH¢11,750,683,059.11 was spent on the COVID-19 activities, while the rest (GH¢10,093,506.13) went into budget support.
According to the report, the misappropriations occurred in various ministries and agencies.
Mr Gyamfi described details in the report as jaw-dropping, which must be pursued to ensure that the State recovered the monies.
He, therefore, called on President Akufo-Addo to emulate the example of Malawian President, Lazarus Chakwera, who dismissed some officials of his government who were found to have misused the country’s COVID-19 funds.
While indicating the Party’s commitment to continue to protect Ghanaians from the economic hardship brought on them by “the government’s mismanagement of the economy”, Mr Gyamfi called on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to expedite its public hearings on the Special Audit Report into expenditures.
“This hearing should be televised live for the Ghanaian public to follow and be apprised of how their government expended COVID-19 funds,” he said.
He added that: “We further urge 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 missed through various infractions and veritable acts of criminality.”