The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament on Wednesday requested the appearance of two officials of the National Board for Professional and Technician Examinations (NBPTE) who have been cited for corrupt practices.
Chaired by Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the PAC heard that the two, Mr Lawson Anakwah, an accountant and Mr Oklu, an internal auditor, had been demoted and had resigned respectively following their complexity in some ghost names discovered on the payroll of the board.
Speaking on behalf of the NBPTE, its Executive Secretary, Mr Francis Torgbor, said, “An issue of ghost names cropped up so the then board interdicted them. They later decided that because of the labour law, they shouldn’t be on interdiction for six months, so they were recalled and the matter was reported to the police and the police are investigating.”
He said although Mr Anakwah was supposed to be present, “because of what happened, he had been demoted, and that is why his assistant, Mr Godwin Danquah, is working in his place.”
The committee said wherever the two officials were, they had to be called to appear before it to respond to queries.
Matter before police
Mr Godwin Danquah told the PAC that the matter was reported to the Nima Police on October 18, 2010, after which Mr Agyeman-Manu said he would write to the police to find out what had become of the case.
The PAC also quizzed the NBPTE on what was responsible for an increase in their internally generated fund (IGF), from GH¢430,000 in 2009 to GH¢967,000 in 2010, as well as the circumstances that led to the payment of unapproved extra duty allowance of over GH¢2,900 to some board members.
Whereas the NBPTE told the committee that the increased IGF was due to the collection of increased examination, affiliation and certificate verification fees, resulting from increased enrolment in polytechnics, it said the unapproved extra duty allowances which were paid for errands undertaken by some board members had since been refunded.
The NBPTE was the sixth institution that appeared before the PAC to answer questions on reports of the Auditor-General on the public accounts of Ghana’s public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions, for the years ended December 31, 2010 and 2011.
Other institutions that appeared at the sitting were the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), the University of Cape Coast (UCC), the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, Encyclopaedia Africana Project and the National Service Secretariat.
UCC explains expenditure on municipal services
The second to take its turn before the PAC, the UCC, represented by its Vice Chancellor, Professor Domwini Dabire Kuupole, explained that the payment of over GH¢11 million for municipal services annually included GH¢3 million for water and GH¢9.4 million for electricity, as well as the use of a generating plant when there was power outage, and providing support for nearby communities to manage their environment.
He told the committee that the reason UCC’s ICT department had operated at a loss was because the money generated was used for Internet connection. Professor Kuupole also said it was the university’s responsibility to provide medical screening for all 5,860 staff each year, as well as providing them with accommodation, as per the conditions of employment, so they would be able to take care of the 58,600 student population.
National Service allowance increased
During the turn of the National Service Secretariat (NSS), the Deputy Minister of Education in charge of Tertiary Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, announced that just last week, the government increased the National Service allowance by over 40 per cent, from GH¢243 to GH¢350 a month.
Acting Executive Director of the NSS, Alhaji Alhassan Imoro, explained that errors in payments to service persons happened because some service persons had to be paid a month earlier than the usual service period because they started work as teaching assistants in tertiary institutions.
He said from 32,000 persons in 2003, the number of people doing their national service had swelled to 80,000; hence, the constant pressure on the secretariat. He, however, added that delays in the payment of allowances was now a thing of the past.
The UMaT appeared to answer questions on an assertion in its report that staff loans had increased expenditure by 61.2 per cent, which Vice Chancellor Professor Jerry Samuel Yaw Kuma explained and also established that GH¢500 spent on a piece of land had been erroneously recorded as GH¢5,000. This was explained as a printing error and rectified.
The Noguchi Memorial Institute (which was told it did not follow the approved procurement procedure) explained that the late auditing of books was as a result of the centralised auditing system the University of Ghana had introduced.
The Director of the Encyclopedia Africana project, Mr Christian Dovi, told the commission that the project, which involved the documentation of African history and culture, did not fail to pay money into the government chest as alleged, but rather deducted the cost of renovations done on accommodation provided by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) as agreed.