The National Sports Authority, an establishment of the State is virtually a collapsed institution. It has no ability to deliver on its mandate as a fully fledged state institution established by the Laws of this country.
Almost close to a year, the authority has been without electricity due to its huge indebtedness to the ECG.
Power to the state institution has been cut off as a result of a debt of about over GHC 4million that the authority owes ECG at the various stadia across the country.
The only reliable bus for the authority that supports various tournaments and competitions of the federations has been seized by an Accra High Court order issued in favour of Goshen Travel and Tours for services it rendered to the Swimming Federation in their tournaments in Kenya, Nigeria and Barcelona in 2012.
Currently the bus which was purchased in 2010, is with the auctioneer pending the speedy auction of the State asset. Magnum security force is also owed over Ghc 1.7m for providing security services since 2009 and has not been paid. Apple Healthy Lifestyle is owed ghc2.6m for supplying gym equipments to the various stadia since 2012.
ZoomLion Company Ltd is also owed an amount close to Ghc 3million for Janitorial Services and has threatened to withdraw its services by on the 10th March 2017.
Added to all this is the Litina Travels and Tours garnished order it secured from the Accra High Court, Commercial Court number 2, was probably the straw that broke the camel’s back. This was when some six senior officers in the MoYS, in flagrant violation of the Procurement Law, gave a contract to African Origin Travel and Tours when a committee that the same ministry has set up to do procurements under the All African Games Committee, in their technical and financial evaluation report to the Ministry, indicated that Litina Travels and Tours have won the contract and therefore the contract should be given to Litina.
Former Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuiye is on record to have said that the reason for the huge debt of the NSA is as a result of poor record keeping and also lack of legal representation.
Despite some justification in this, it is not convincing by any stretch of analysis and begs understanding of the real issues at stake;
It is factual and undeniable that the NSA’s huge debt is as a result of financial indiscipline on the part of senior officers at the MoYS.
Former Youth and Sports Minister Nii Lante Vanderpuiye alluded that there is lack of legal representation for both the MoYS and NSA.
One may ask, Is that not the responsibility of the Attorney General to ensure that the Ministry for that matter the NSA is provided with good legal representation. Is it not the job of the Minister to work with the Attorney General’s office to ensure that the Ministry is adequately represented in court?
Why should he be the one lamenting over this when it should be the tax payer and the good people of this country whose monies are going to be used to pay these debts.
It is important to mention that Honorable Minister should have been meticulous in coming out to say the Moys has no records of these debts knowing very well as much as we all do that the creditors can take undue advantage of the comment on lack of records and make undue claim on government. This is very unfortunate to say the least.
Administrators at the Sports Ministry have a responsibility to ensure that there are proper records of every financial transaction at the MoYS.
It is a fact upheld in public financial management and good governance that one main reason why senior government officials would not want to keep proper records of financial transactions is when they want to perpetrate fraud.
As part of the fraudulent act of the fraudster, he does whatever is necessary to cover his back so that he can elude any possible persuer.
If this argument is anything to go by, we are made to know that the lack of proper record keeping at the MoYS could be deliberate to hide records from legitimate pursuers.
In my opinion, the following maybe the reasons for the many debts suffocating the NSA and the MoYS.
There is lack of financial discipline at the Moys, where the Ministry spends more than it’s budget as a Ministry and spends the budget that belongs to its agencies.
The MoYS spent GHC2.M of NSA’s approved budget for which the funds was released to the MoYS by Ministry of Finance in 2016. The Winneba Sports College and the National Youth Authority suffered similar fate.
Furthermore there is total disregard and non adherence to the Procurement Act 2002 at the MoYS.
Using Litina Travels and Tours and African Origin as a classical case of non adherence to the Laws of this country, the MoYS did not follow any procurement procedure in awarding the contract to African Origin.
A. There was no advertisements or request from prospective bidders for the expression of interest by the MoYS.
B. There was no tenders from prospective bidders.
C. There was no bid document opening.
D. There was no technical evaluation of tenders.
E. There was no financial evaluation.
F. There was no approval from the Public Procurement Authority for a single sole sourcing.
G. The entity tender committee of the Moys did not sit to look at the issue of airlifting service by MoYS.
H. There was no letter awarding a contract from the Ministry to African Origin Travel and Tours.
I. There was no documented contract between African Origin and the MoYS.
Not withstanding all these short comings, the Ministry gave the job to African Origin Travel and Tours and paid a whopping $880,000.00.
Now, from the above, whose work is it to keep proper records of all these transactions at the MoYS. Is it not the Ministry and its officials.
Let’s call spade a spade, it is because some people at the MoYS want to make ungodly gain and therefore would not commit themselves to the Procurement Laws and other financial laws and also would not ensure that proper records are kept for every financial transactions that they enter into.
This for them, would also ensure their backs are covered and there are no traces of the illegality being perpetrated.
Litina Travels and Tours emerged winners after both technical and financial evaluation was done for airlifting of athletes to Congo based on strict procurement procedures by the Procurement Subcommittee in 2015.
However the Moys unilaterally awarded the contract to African Origin Travel and Tours. Litina and Tours took the case to court and the NSA has been slapped with a court judgement of $380,000.00 and another GHC 45,000.00.
All efforts to get the MoYS to come to the aid of NSA has fallen on deaf ears.
An effective Internal Audit Unit is one of the key tools to a good public financial management system. Public Financial Management Experts have said that an effective Internal Audit Unit is the antidote to fighting corruption and avoiding waste and unnecessary debt.
Therefore the recommendations, views and opinions of the Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry must be respected in every financial transaction at the Ministry as required by the Internal Audit Agency Act 2002.
The GIFMIS (Government integrated Financial Management Information System) must be allowed to work for the purpose of budgeting, budget implementation, disbursements of funds to the agencies and financial reporting. The use of the GIFMIS platform for processing and payments of financial transactions at the MDAs and MMDAS ensures that Ministries and Agencies spend within their budgetary allocations. The continuous overrun of budget at the Moys is because the Ministry does not use the Oracle application ( GIFMIS) for budgeting, processing payments and financial reporting. Currently the MOYS does not process invoices and payments through the GIFMIS platform.This is a Ministry that goes for the Sector Budget from the Ministry of Finance and spends it the way it pleases. This is financial indiscipline.
The next point is that the MoYS must allow its legally established agencies to work and to deliver on their mandate. The MoYS must be content with policy formulations whiles the NSA and the other agencies deal with the issue of implementation of sports policies.
Why should Ministers in the past be signing contracts that affect directly the work of the NSA and the other agencies. For instance, why should the MoYS sign contracts with companies like Green Grass Technology for the maintenance of pitches, Zoom Lion for Janitorial Services.
Apple Health Lifestyle for the supply of Gym Equipment for the stadia across the country, African Origin Travel for airlifting services and without following proper procurement procedures, Magnum Force Security for providing security services at the stadia when the Ministry does not even have the capacity to supervise performance of those contracts. Is it because these contracts are very juicy and extremely rewarding to some officers than their whole life salaries can provide?
A good public financial management system uses segregation of duties as one of it’s key weapons to fighting the issue of corruption.
If the Ministry could formulate policies, award contracts at the Ministry and deal with suppliers directly even for services which are rendered at the agency level and make payments at the Ministry, then the issue of segregation of duties is not being adhered and complied with.
As a directive principle of state policy, Ministries are supposed to formulate policies whiles the agencies implement same. Ministries are not supposed to be implementers at the agencies. This principle ensures that there are checks and balances. It is also against the directive principle of state policy for a Ministry to spend the budgetary allocations of it’s agencies for a whole year whiles the agencies suffer and the Ministries overrun their budget at the Ministry.
I am very disappointed that a Ministry that is supposed to champion the cause of sports promotion and development has metamorphosed into a Ministry of Bermuda Triangle, causing the disappearance of funds earmarked by government for sports promotion and development in this country. Have they wondered what the budgetary allocation of ghc2m for last year if it had been given to the NSA, could have done in the area of support for the federations or training of coaches or the maintenance of the Sports Stadia.
That notwithstanding, I am also very happy that Honorable Isaac Asiamah the Minister for Youth and Sports, has indicated that he would ensure that the agencies under the Ministry of Youth and Sports are given the needed financial support based on their approved budget for them to deliver on their mandate.
By this we hope that budgetary allocations for stadia maintenance and rehabilitations, training of coaches, and support for federations would be forthcoming.
Again Honourable Asiamah must be courageous enough and inexorable in this mission to purge the Moys of any corrupt officials whose act of financial indiscipline and abuse of office has created this huge debt on the shoulders of NSA and crippled its activities. Honorable must do a proper house cleaning of all the filth and dirt at the Moys. This would serve as a deterrent to any officer appointed at the Ministry in future from indulging himself or herself in such acts of financial indiscipline. Honorable Asiamah must put his foot down and keep his eyes and ears widely opened and work hard to ensure that the veil of financial indiscipline upon the moys is lifted permanently so that the good name of the Moys would be restored. We are waiting for a new paradigm shift and believing and hoping that the era of financial indiscipline at the Ministry of Youth and Sports shall be a thing of the past.
God Bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation especially sports lovers, greater and stronger.
By: Kwame Larweh with additional files from NSA