By Fred Sarpong
Over GH¢145,237 was withdrawn from the account of the Dangme West District Assembly (DWDA) by unknown persons in 2009, investigations have shown.
Investigation conducted by this reporter revealed that in 2009 the money was withdrawn from the Assembly’s three separate accounts at the Shai Rural Bank Limited.
The account numbers are District Development Fund (DDF) -1000000003362, Internal Generated Fund account (IGF) - 1000000001869, and Internal Generated Fund account (IGF) – 1000000003395. The withdrawals were made on 10thAugust, and 23rd December, 2009.
According to the investigations, the District Coordinating Director (DCD) also made a withdrawal of GH¢11,210 from the District Development Fund account. The DCD made three separate withdrawals on 18th November, (GH¢166.00); 17thDecember (GH¢444.00); and 23rd December,(GH¢10,600.00).
Also, between 3rd August, and 18th December, an amount of GH¢66,396.22 was withdrawn from the DWDA account. The DCD also withdrew an amount of GH¢4,700.5 from the DWDA account. Records show that the DCD made 16 withdrawals from this account within the period under review.
Further investigations show that between 4th August, 2009 and 23rd December, 2009 an amount of GH¢37,511.99 was taken from the DWDA account-this was made up of 58 withdrawals. The DCD again withdrew GH¢4,727 from this account.
Apart from depleting the Assembly’s accounts, investigations revealed that there are several projects and programmes approved by the District Chief Executive (DCE), Mr Emmanuel Anyemi Oddei Lartey and the District Coordinating Director (DCD), Mr Emmanuel Nortey without the concerns of the District Tender Committee (DTC).
For instance, the DCE alongside with the DCD approved GH¢9,911.00, for rehabilitation of the Regional House of Chiefs block project on 2nd November, 2009. The project was executed in readiness for the Regional Farmers Day forum.
However, further investigations by this investigative team shows that the total amount for the project was rather GH¢9,921.00 but not GH¢9,911.00 as approved.
The breakdown is as follows:
Roofing and Carpentry- GH¢895.00
Plaster Work and other Furnishes- GH¢4,701.00
Painting and Decorating- GH¢1,375.00
Labour Cost- GH¢2,950.00
The investigative team got to know that any project with a budget of more than GH¢50,000 must be approved by the Regional Co-ordinating Council (RCC) and projects more than GH¢100,000 must also be approved by Tender Review Board (TRB), which are the thresholds for the Assembly.
However, there are some projects which do not go through the District Tender Committee for approval, because those budgets are below the threshold.
Another incident, which the investigation team identified, was that some individual’s heads are covering malfeasance at the Assembly. For instance, some members of the District Task Force Committee, after collecting levies belonging to the Assembly from institutions such as the China Gezhouba Group Company (CGGC), failed to pay the money into the Assembly coffers.
The authorities promised the Assembly members to set up a committee to investigate the issue but have since not fulfilled its promised to the Assembly.
The CGGC Gezhouba Group is a Chinese company, currently working on Kpone Water Supply Expansion Project at Dodowa. This Chinese company used Laterite soil for the construction of the project. The company pays the land owners when they collect the Laterite soil.
Our investigation revealed that the owners of the land where the CGGC collected the Laterite from paid the Assembly part of the returns through the Task Force. But those members of the Task Force, tasked to collect the money on behalf of the Assembly failed to pay the money and the authorities have also not investigated the matter.
Also, the investigation team saw that there are a number of workers working at the Assembly, with forged documents and our investigation revealed that some senior officers at the Assembly were behind this initiative.
Some of these workers are using Middle School and Technical School certificates, which do not even belong to them.
On May 28, 2012 at about 18:25, the investigative team called the DCE to seek his reaction to this investigation report. Mr Lartey informed our investigative team that he was bereaved and we should rather talk to Mr Emmanuel Nortey.
Mr Emmanuel Nortey called the investigative team to know the nature of what we were investigating. Upon briefing him, Mr Nortey stated that he signs the Assembly’s cheques together with the District Finance Officer (DFO), Francis Anaba.
But Anaba explained: “When programmes are been undertaken by the Assembly, cheques are written in the name of the DCD and he does the withdrawal, as a Spending Officer of the Assembly. Pay Vouchers (PV) available explains the details of those withdrawals.’
“It is not every project that is supposed to be submitted for discussion and approval. The nature of some projects requires straight approvals from the authorities at the Assembly. For instance, if the President is visiting the district and we suppose to undertake a project, we cannot go to the DTC for approvals before we carry out such project. Such projects need to be done quickly because of time factor,’ said Mr. Nortey.
However, Mr Nortey, Anaba and the Assistant District Coordinator, Mr Bernard Yingura explained that the procedure in which cheques are signed have not changed at the Assembly.
The officials explained that before a cheque is finally signed, it goes through all stages, including auditing before withdrawal is made at the bank.
They disclosed that between 2009 and 2012, the withdrawal procedures at the Shai Rural Bank have changed, previously the Shai Rural Bank did not give details of withdrawals, but the bank has changed it in the bank statement report recently.
This investigation was sponsored by PAIR.