The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum (MoE) spent $1,745,159 (GH¢5,584,508 at the current exchange rate) on 38 luxury vehicles when there was no budgetary provision for the purchases.
An audit report presented to Parliament by the Auditor-General, Richard Quartey, explains that the vehicles were bought with money meant for extending electricity to 1,200 communities under the Multi-Donor Budgetary Support Programme between 2010 and 2012.
The ministry also bought two heavy duty photocopiers for $33,226.40 (GH¢106,324), four desktop computers with accessories for $10,522.28 (GH¢33,670) and three laptop computers with accessories for $8,008.71 (GH¢25,627.87).
The report said, ‘The vehicles and office equipment were supplied by Weldy Lamont (contractor for the project) as part of the materials supplied for the project. The director of power explained the acquisition of the vehicles and office equipment was for capacity building to enhance the service delivery of the ministry. The audit team found no budget for purchase of vehicles and office equipment in the details of the contract.’
The auditors argued that ‘The process for the ministry to acquire assets to enhance its service delivery is through the annual budget process. The Budget Committee of the ministry prepares the expenditure estimates by costing programmes and projects, taking into consideration the ceilings set in the Budget Circular. This is followed by the budget hearing scheduled by MoE where the ministry defends the budget’s contribution to the economic growth of Ghana.
‘The ministry also appears before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy to justify items in the budget.’
The Auditor-General said this laborious defence and justification process of the budget is meant to ensure that only necessary expenditures are made and those that do not add to economic growth are eliminated.
He underscored, ‘In the procurement of vehicles and office equipment under the Weldy Lamont contract, the decision to purchase did not go through this stringent process that guarantees prudent spending. Although Parliament gave approval to the turnkey arrangement through a resolution, the vehicles and office equipment were not in the proposal which was sent to Parliament for approval.” myjoyonline
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