Ofori-Atta was untruthful, proper accountability needed on COVID-19 expenditure – Adongo

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The Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga Central, Isaac Adongo says the Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta was untruthful with the information he shared with Parliament on Wednesday while accounting for the country’s COVID-19 expenses.

Speaking on Eyewitness News, the legislator said there is the need for a further probe to ascertain the actual amount accrued to the government and its expenditure.

“I just don’t know how this man [Ken Ofori-Atta] thought that he will just come and bamboozle [us] and get away with it. No wonder he has been running away from accountability and Parliament all this while. People who contested elections openly claimed that they were given allocations of COVID money to spend, yet most of these monies did not even come as free money. People cannot hide behind COVID to plunder the public purse. They must account for it and the more open that process is, the better it is in claiming back the credibility of Parliament and the government architecture we set for ourselves,” he said.

The Minority in Parliament argued on Wednesday that they wanted an ad-hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the government’s expenditures, besides the account rendered by the Finance Minister.

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But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, contended that the Auditor General’s office would be the best agency to look into the expenditure.

Isaac Adongo, who is also the Deputy Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, however, challenged the view indicating that the Auditor General could not do a thorough job as his work only entails checking for expenditures of ministries, departments, and agencies and not special incidents such as COVID-19 expenditures.

“The argument that the Auditor General will audit the accounts and so that suffices [is not right]. The Auditor-General does not produce a special account on COVID-19 and related revenue and expenditures. He only reports the figures of total government expenditure and revenues from Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.”

“At this point, we are not looking at those numbers, we are looking at revenues or total mobilization and expenditures in relation to COVID-19 activities and there is no way the Auditor General’s reports can cover those matters so that has to be done by special arrangements. I am happy that the Speaker approved that this be investigated as a special activity,” he added.

He further noted that the Speaker of Parliament’s final decision for a joint Health and Finance committees investigation into the expenditure will suffice.

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