The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has urged the Ministry of Finance to establish audit committees in all 216 district assemblies.

It said the audit committees would address internal financial management weaknesses in the assemblies.

The call for the formation of audit committees was part of the recommendations in the report of the PAC on the Auditor General’s findings on the Accounts of District Assemblies for the Financial Year ended December 31, 2015.

The report, which was adopted and approved in Parliament last Friday, indicated that failure to apply sanctions over the years had contributed immensely to financial violations at the assemblies.

Infractions

Some of the infractions identified by the committee included unaccounted for payments,  revenues and unearned salaries among others.

The 41-page report signed by the Chairman of PAC, Mr James Klutse Avedzi, indicated that most of the assemblies found culpable in the irregularities could not present payment vouchers for payments made or provide documentation to substantiate the payments. Besides, it said management of the assemblies cited poor filing systems, relocation of office and absence of finance officers during the time of the audit as some of the reasons why the payments could not be established during the audit.

Annual accounts

The report indicated that “as at December 31, 2015, only 201 of the 216 Assemblies had submitted their annual accounts and statements for audit validation. For example in the Upper East Region, the report said the irregularities across eight assemblies there amounted to GH¢208,000.

“Seven Districts across the Upper West Region, the report said were in violation of various cash and tax regulations which amounted to GH¢3,412,888 whilst in the Northern Region, 11 districts could not substantiate the payment of GH¢185,000. In the Brong Ahafo Region, the irregularities amounted to GH¢885,019, GH¢23.4 million of revenue was uncollected in 2015.

Revenues

With the assemblies failing to collect GH¢233,544 in revenues in the Western Region, the report said misappropriation of stool land revenues also amounted to GH¢150,981.

According to the report, in the Volta and Eastern regions, GH¢110,557 and GH¢867,698 in revenues were unaccounted for respectively.

“The committee has observed that 142 revenue collectors within the Greater Accra Region were unable to account for GH¢44,361, whilst GH¢12,715 was paid in unearned salaries,” it said.

The report said some officers of some assemblies either did not appreciate the enormity of the sanctions involved or lacked knowledge of what was pertained in the law.



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