President John Mahama has directed the Attorney General and Minister of Justice to set up a special desk to investigate and prosecute all offenders who have been captured in the reports of the Auditor General concerning squandered state funds and assets. President Mahama says the directive and its implementation is part of efforts toward forestalling corruption in public offices. He says it will send a strong message to public Officials that they cannot abuse state finances and resources and go scot free. President Mahama gave the directive when he addressed senior citizens at the Banquet Hall in Accra to commemorate Ghana’s 53rd anniversary as a Republican state. Auditor General, Richard Q. Quartey is reported by national Newspaper Daily Graphic on June 25, 2013 to have revealed that Ghana lost GH¢118.8 million as a result of irregularities at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies per the Financial Report on MDAs in 2011. According to the Auditor-General’s Report on MDAs, the breakdown of amount lost to the state for the year 2011 include, tax irregularities which amounted to GH¢52,807,322.72 and GH¢13,824.11, representing 44.22 per cent.
Cash irregularities, on the other hand, led to the loss of GH¢ 33,583,678.14 and $76,883.31 and £122,260.11 representing 28.43 per cent as a result of irregularities.
Outstanding loans amounted to GH¢5,602,153.84 and $73,306.18 which is 4.78 per cent. For Payroll, the amount lost was GH¢ 909,278.80 and $76,496.25, representing 0.86 per cent, while Stores/Procurement resulted in the loss of GH¢ 780,027.67, which is 0.65 per cent.
Failure by some MDAs to follow laid down procedure in the award of contracts also led to a loss of GH¢24,946,637.32, representing 20.88 per cent. Furthermore, the state incurred GH¢191,077.17 which accounted for 0.18 per cent as the MDAs neglected the deduction of the monthly rent from their staff salaries.
Mr. Quartey said, the incident of cash irregularities were rife in the ministries of Justice and Attorney General; GH¢16,375,045.05; Health, GH¢12,089,459.63; Education, GH¢ 2,621,482.63; MoFEP GH¢ 2,004,238.00; Employment and Social Welfare GH¢ 276,723.53; Youth and Sports GH¢ 237,864.70; Defence, GH¢ 81,039.61 and other agencies GH¢ 84,758.12. He said the coffers of the State also shrunk by $246,744.24 and £136,084.22 owing to similar irregularities.
The President directive for offenders to be punished comes just a week after the Auditor General’s revelations.