General News of Thursday, 26 February 2015
Source: The Chronicle
Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, has observed that there is no trace of the money meant to compensate the families of four of the victims in The Gambia killings in the Consolidated Fund, as evidence shows that the account was operating negative.
According to him, over the last twelve months (January to December 2014), the country’s Consolidated Fund has been in red, indicating that the country is indebted to so many institutions and firms.
The Finance Minister, Seth Terkper has, however, denied the claim, describing it as laughable. In a telephone interview with the editorial team at press time last night, the manager of the exchequer said the consolidated Fund consists of so many accounts and wondered how all these accounts could read red, as is being claimed by the Minority MP.
He noted that the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) collect taxes on daily basis and pay them into the Consolidated Fund. The same, he said, applied to the Driver Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA) and other departments and agencies that collect taxes on behalf of the government.
He admitted that the government owes some institutions in the country, but insisted that it would be impossible for all the consolidated accounts to read red.
But Mr. Agyeman-Manu, who made allegation in a follow up interview after the Speaker of Parliament refused to grant him audience to speak to the Public Accounts of the Consolidated Fund, in his attempt to contribute to a question relating to the killing of Ghanaians in The Gambia some years back, insists the government account is in red.
The Member of Parliament for Jaman South, Yaw Afful, had asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration whether the funeral donation/compensations received from The Gambian Government in respect of the Ghanaians killed in Gambia in 2005 had been fully disbursed.
Hon. Hannah Serwaa Tetteh, in response said an amount of US$500,000 was paid by the Government of The Gambia for the organization of the funerals, burial of victims and payment of compensation to families of victims of the unfortunate incident.
Out of the amount, GHc270,000 was paid to 27 beneficiaries out of 31, at GHc10,000 each. Total amounts of GHc280,170 for the remaining four, whose bodies were unidentified were returned to Government chest.
Mr. Agyeman-Manu in contributing to the motion wondered where the GHc280,170 had been deposited, since records from the Public Accounts of the Consolidated Fund indicates that it has been operating a negative account over the last twelve months.
“If that money has been put in the consolidated fund and the account itself is in red, it means that the money is not sitting there. It has been chopped and we are wondering if the family members should pop up tomorrow morning, to come for the money, what is going to happen? Will the government go out to borrow money from somewhere to pay them? he quizzed.
When the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho, enquired from Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee if the document he was referring to was before the House, Mr. Agyeman-Manu answered in the negative, but argued that the document “is a public document and could easily be obtained from the website of the Audit Service”.
The Speaker, not convinced about the response given, ruled Mr. Agyeman-Manu out of order, preventing him from speaking further on the issue. But Mr. Agyeman-Manu, who is the legislator for Dormaa Central, in a follow up interview, said the accounts of the Consolidated Fund has been negative for several months now and wondered where the money has been deposited.