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Karaga District assembly breaches procurement procedures-auditors finding revealed



A study conducted by the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) has shown that the Karaga district assembly has failed to follow some procurement processes in executing capital school projects.

The findings which focus on school projects, revealed that the assembly did not advertise two school projects in two widely circulated daily newspapers, procurement bulletin and website as required by the procurement law.

The assembly, the findings indicated, only advertised in one newspaper and also closed the biding process at 10.00 am instead 12.00 noon, as stipulated in the procurement law.

The assembly, according to the findings, failed to follow drawing of the schools as indicated in the contract which GAS observed was dangerous because geographical locations are very important for school projects for the purposes of windbreaks or rainstorms.

The GAS study focuses on a three unit classroom block at Nasiriya primary funded by the District Assembly Common Fund between 2011 and 2014 at a cost of about 1,500,000 Ghana cedis.

The other school located at Kpaglu community also constructed by the District Works Department in the same period at a cost of 160, 000 Ghana cedis also between 2011 and 2014.

In the case of Kpaglu project, the auditors found out that the assembly failed to plan for it and it was not in their composite budget and yet it spent money without authorization. The assembly the finding observed went ahead and paid contractors without warrant.

GAS applied three methods, including document review, and interviews of some key persons at the assembly to find out the roles they played during the project.

To confirm the findings in the documents, the team also inspected project sites to find out if they really existed and also if adherence to specifications was followed.

This came to light when an official from the performance audit unit of the Ghana Audit Service, Richard Pappoe presented its findings to stakeholders including traditional leaders and assembly members at Karaga.

The findings indicated that the assembly did not also meet the two school projects as far the time line was concerned, thus making children to suffer as a result of the assembly’s inability to ensure that the projects were completed on time.

The Audit Service findings further indicated that the assembly allegedly misappropriated five thousand Ghana cedis (GH¢ 5 000) for monitoring and supervision.

The assembly could not produce substantial evidence to back their claims that the monitoring was done. Upon further interrogations, they produce a visitors book at project sites with dates indicating that the monitoring was done on Saturday and Sunday which raises suspicions among the auditors.

The GAS is being supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to implement Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms(GSAM) five-year project to conduct a performance audit of 50 district assemblies to evaluate how they plan and implement capital projects. A consortium of NGOs, including IBIS in Ghana, ISODEC and CARE developed scorecards for the project.

The assembly, the finding revealed breached some aspects procurement law which requires them to ensure that all payment vouchers for the two projects were stamped with receipts.

It however lauded the Karaga assembly for adhering to some aspects of the procurement law which requires that a minimum of three contractors bid for each of the two projects.

The GAS findings also commended the assembly for consulting the beneficiary community members and for also planning and budgeting for the projects. Richard Pappoe told Zaa News the assembly violated the law on the entity tender evaluation committee.

He explained that any body on the committee should not be impaneled to do evaluation but two members of the committee were part of the committee which was contrary to the law. This, he said does not allow for independence of the panel which in turn creates the chance for unfair competition.

The auditors could not also understand why a monitoring report was attached to a payment voucher signed by only person out of an eleven-member monitoring team.

In response, the Planning Officer, Mr. Mahamud on behalf of the DCE, thanked the consortium of NGOs and donors for making Karaga one of the 50 districts to benefit from the GSAM projects, which means that the district is not being left out.

He maintained that the assembly didn’t misappropriated the five thousand Ghana cedis as auditors findings indicated. He claimed the supervision was done but records were not available to show it was indeed done.

Mr Mahamud said the assembly did not deliberately delay the projects but it was due to the delay of funds particularly on District Assembly Common Fund funded projects. “We even did well because we improvised to ensure that the projects were completed in spite of delay of releasing common fund,” the planner explained.

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