When it dawned on the nation that impropriety was taking place at NYEP (now GYEEDA), Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, Minister of Youth and Sports appointed a 5-member Impact Assessment and Review Committee to investigate alleged maladministration and financial indiscipline the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) on 12th April 2013.
Between 2009 and 2013, GYEEDA received funding totalling GHC949, 661,017 Cedis directly from the Consolidated Fund and other statutory sources BELOW HERE:
The Committee’s terms of reference were to:
• Review the regulatory framework of GYEEDA and how it has evolved to its current state, examining in detail the various modules and partner programmes
• Perform current state analysis of financial management, operation of bank accounts, procurement and contracting procedures, disbursements, human resource and other management practices
• Review the capacity of persons entrusted with certain key responsibilities related to the mandate of the programme
• Perform in-depth investigations of possible irregularities of crime and related financial losses and actions taken by management to recover possible embezzlement of money and other assets as the case may be
• Evaluate the administrative and accounting procedures and disbursement procedures that have been followed.
The Committee submitted its report to the Minister who passed it on to H. E President John Dramani Mahama on 15th July 2013. The Government has recommended that only 3 (three) companies be made to vomit GHC 55, 896,668.57, being funds advanced to them by Gyeeda, apparently for no work done.
According to the Attorney General, there might be no need for prosecution since the 3 (three) companies involved in the scandal have pledged to refund the monies illegally paid to them. The Deputy Attorney General, Dominic Ayine opines that prosecution shall only take place when evidence to establish commitment of crime is at hand. We are talking about circa GHC55.9 million cedis in the wrong hands.
This large amount of money would certainly help reduce abject poverty experienced by our folks in remote areas of Ghana. In those areas cows, dogs, goats, birds and other animals drink from the same streams side by side with human beings, whereas we have taxpayer’s funds in the hands of a privileged few smart men and women in our midst. Arguably, we cannot tell if the culprits are financiers of the ruling party, as the government seems to be in no rush to retrieve these funds from them. Against this background, we are being confused with legal technicalities to shield some few people and organisations in the country.
Yesterday (30th December,2013), I read about our ex- President J. J Rawlings’s fury over bad governance and his call for reshuffle within the Government machinery. Who can fault him on that? By AFRC standards, could any one person in Ghana, under J. J. Rawlings and his colleagues have dared to create the scandalous situation we are experiencing at NYEP (GYEEDA) without severe punishment?
As we are now being told by the Deputy Attorney General that those who have GYEEDA funds in their custody now may not be prosecuted until evidence of wrongdoing is proven against them. Surely, there must be transparency in dealing with public funds and I would expect the Attorney General’s department to convince us whether the decision they have taken is in the best interest of the country?
We demand answers from the Government. If the Government believes that the decision by the Attorney General’s office is appropriate, a question I would like answered is, why has government funds been paid to the following recipients without proper checks and balances or due diligence, if you like?:
There may be reasons and explanations for such payments made willy-nilly, but these would not help anyone in Ghana. Surely, the Government can do better than the way it is going about the report of the Committee that investigated the GYEEDA organisation. We are now aware that some people and organisations have monies in their custody that belong to GYEEDA.
Why can we not get these funds back into Government coffers now rather than later? What happens if such people pass away or organisations go into liquidation? Are there any guarantees that GYEEDA funds shall be recovered should such events occur? It is taking the government far too long to come out with a clear and simple list of all organisations and individuals, dead or alive, involved in the financial debacle at GYEEDA.
We are aware that the President has given directives to the Auditor General, the Attorney General and Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to go through the report and take action against those organisations and individuals involved in financial irregularities at GYEEDA. For the sake of transparency, openness and accountability it would have been proper to collect state funds from all organisations and individuals found by the Committee to be in wrongful possession of GYEEDA funds.
We believe that the Government had confidence in the constitution of the Committee and one would have expected immediate implementation of the Committee’s recommendations without fear or favour. To prolong refunds to GYEEDA account may result in likely financial losses to the state consequently and this is no good stewardship of the taxpayer’s funds. In my opinion, the best Committee to have handled the GYEEDA financial embezzlement should have been made up of representatives from NDC; NPP; PPP;PNC;CPP etc. to ensure transparency and non-partisanship in the Committee’s work.
The Government must endeavour to address issues as and when they occur and not turn the blind eye. Moreover, it must be remembered that political parties come and political parties go but the country remains the same. It is pride that turned angels into devils. The purpose of any government is to serve the interests of its people and not its political party and it financiers.
We must also remember that the incumbent or any particular government is doing a gross disservice to the nation where we have no funds to finance the provision of classrooms for some children studying under trees, good roads in most parts of the country and potable water for the rural areas, to mention a few of our immediate needs. Considering, therefore that millions of cedis are floating about in wrong hands such as Woyome, Isofoton, Gyeeda, Subah and others and the Government is unable to retrieve these funds I can only say that your guess is as good as mine.
31st December 2013