You’ll be jailed if you misapply funds – Local Gov’t Minister to MMDCEs

The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama has cautioned Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives to follow due processes in the utilization of funds at the Assembly levels to avoid being thrown into jail.

The 2016 Auditor-General Report on Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDA’s) revealed that some officials of assemblies mismanaged funds and resources value at approximately Ghc70.1million, an increase Ghc 17 million representing 32% compared to Ghc 53.2 million financial infractions discovered by Auditor -General in 2015.

According to the 2016 Auditor-General’s Report titled: “Management and Utilisation of District Assemblies’ Common Fund and other Statutory Funds” for 2016, the management and members of staff of assemblies continued to violate financial regulations leading  to huge dissipation of public funds.

But according to the Local Government Minister, the Public Finance Management Act 2016(Act 921) passed last year is envisaged to address this challenges stringent punishment for persons incriminated financially at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assembly levels.

“You should be hands on, apart from being politicians, you should be technically sound, it is not anytime that your Coordinating Director or your finance officer or your Budget Officer just pushes something and you sign. You should have some knowledge if not you will sign your death warrant, because now the public Financial Management Act also has sanctions so if you make a mistake you will be sanction, if it is sanction that you are surcharged may be that one you can get your family to contribute and you pay. But if it is criminal in nature you know what that means, and I will cry if any of you go to prison for that but I cannot help. So take it very seriously.”

The Minister said this Monday when opening a three -day workshop on Public Financial Management for MMDCE’s drawn from five regions at the Southern Sector of Ghana.

Hajia Alima Mahama stated that MMDCEs must decipher the Public Financial Management Act to enable them manage resources at the local level within the microeconomic and fiscal framework adding that Chief Executives of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies must be concern with how best to manage the Assemblies within the Administrative and Transformation of input to output in the quality.

“This training is very very important, it is to take you through the Public Financial Management Act to enable you regulate the financial management of the public sector within the microeconomic and fiscal framework and it is also to provide the framework to support the sound monitoring policy and the management of your resource base on the public financial Management Act and the same level too, you will be looking at the budgeting process because it is also important for you to know all the processes for the preparation, approval and administration of the transparent, credible and a predictable annual budget.”

The Eastern Regional Minister, Eric Kwakye Darfuor charged the MMDCE’s to have the responsibility to protect the Public Purse and ensure accountability.

According to him, the workshop must empower the MMDCE’S to reduce drastically the numerous audit queries on the misapplication misuse and the Countless unaccountable monies during appearance at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

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