PAC to recommend withholding of GAEC’s subventions
THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has said it will recommend the withholding of the subventions paid to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).
This is as a result of the failure of GAEC to submit its accounts for scrutiny by the Auditor-General as required by law for three years.
The Chairman of the committee, Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, gave hint of the intended action at the sitting of the PAC yesterday.
Under the Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654) government subvented organisations are required to submit their financial accounts to the Auditor-General for scrutiny three months after the financial year has ended.
Failure to comply with that is expected to attract sanctions, which include the withholding of subventions for the subsequent year.
However, GAEC has breached the law, a situation which led representatives of the Auditor-General at the sitting of the PAC to urge the committee to sanction the commission.
Although the Director of Finance of GAEC, Mr Cyprian Basing, apologised profusely for the breach of the law, the Auditor-General’s representatives, as well as members of the PAC, took a serious view of the issue and made it clear that sanctions would be applied.
But under the laws of Ghana, the PAC cannot directly sanction organisations which appear before it.
A Ranking Member of the PAC, Alhaji Abubakar Ibrahim Dey (NDC Salaga South), wondered why subventions had been released to GAEC, in spite of the fact that it had breached the law.
Officials of the Auditor-General’s Office said under the Financial Administration Act, any organisation which failed to comply with the law was not entitled to subventions.
However, there had been lapses in implementing that portion of the law.
It also emerged that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Ghana Commercial Bank (GCB), the financial institutions with which GAEC dealt, failed to reply to circulars by the Auditor-General regarding some financial dealings with the commission.
Bank officials to be summoned
Mr Agyeman-Manu, commenting on that development, said officials of the BoG and the GCB would be summoned to appear before the PAC to state why they did not respond to the circulars.
Officials of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), led by the Director-General, Dr Abdulai Baba Salifu, also appeared before the committee.
It came to light that it was only in the area of agriculture that research was being carried out by the council.
CSIR operates outside mandate
Most of the tasks performed by the CSIR, it emerged, were not related to its core mandate.
For example, the PAC learnt that staff of the council used facilities of the state to conduct research for private organisations and pocketed the money paid to them.
Many of the PAC members questioned the justification for the continued existence of the CSIR if it did not conduct any research and if its staff used state facilities to conduct research for their personal benefits.
The PAC also found that the CSIR entered into agreements and contracts without recourse to the Attorney-General, whose duty it was to consider the legal implications of agreements.
Individuals to answer for financial lapses
Dr Abdulai said he would ensure that the relevant individuals answered for the financial lapses in the organisation.
He stated that the CSIR had never reneged on its core functions.
Officials of organisations under the Ministry of Roads and Highways, including the Ghana Highway Authority (GHA) and the Department of Urban Roads, also appeared before the committee.
By Mark-Anthony Vinokor/Daily Graphic/Ghana
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