By Fred Yaw Sarpong
Huge sum of money is allegedly been missing at the Atebubu- Amantin Municipal Assembly in the Brong Ahafo region of Ghana.
The latest one is over GH¢32,000 getting missing from the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) account of Atebubu-Amantin Municipality at Atebubu branch.
Investigation conducted by this reporter revealed that the withdrawal was made gradually between December 2012 and March 2013.
According to the investigations conducted, Richard Boateng, an accountant at the Municipality is allegedly behind the withdrawal in collaboration with some top officials at the municipality.
Since the incident occurred, Boateng has run away from the district and cannot be traced. The District Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Martey confirmed the case on phone to the investigative journalist.
However, he added that they are currently on their investigation and cannot disclose anything detail of where they have reach to the reporter. Chief Superintendent Martey stated that they are currently looking for Rechard Boateng who bolted away after the incident was reported to the Police.
Investigation has shown that normally withdrawal of monies from the municipality account does not depend on one person, but rather it involves a process. Even though some District Chief Executives (DCEs) do not sign cheques, mostly they get to know any amount withdrawn from any of their accounts.
In most of the districts in Ghana, cheques go through the District Finance Officer (DFO) as well as the District Coordinating Director, and at time the DCE before the withdrawal.
At a normal practice, any project with a budget of more than GH¢50,000 must be approved by the Regional Co-coordinating 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, investigation revealed that there are some projects which do not go through the District Tender Committee for approval, because those budgets are below the threshold.
In a telephone interview with the District Coordinating Director, Zakaria Salifu Yakubu he expressed worried about questions the investigative journalists asked him. ‘If you write anything bad about me I will sue you,’ he told the Journalist on phone.
He confirmed they do not know the where about of Richard Boateng. But he further explained that after the incident they reported to the Police for further investigation and necessary action.
‘If we were not interested in the case we would not have reported to the Police,’ Coordinating Director Yakubu added.
This investigative journalist and his team are still on the ground investigation for part two of this missing money.