Failure to account for Covid funds paints a bad image for Ghana – Gatsi tells Ofori-Atta
Dean of the University of Cape Coast Business School, Prof John Gatsi says the continuous delay in the finance minister appearing before parliament to account for the government’s COVID expenditure creates a bad image for the Ghanaian government.
According to him, the Akufo-Addo government must take keen interest in ensuring the minister appears to provide details on how funds were spent as Ghana received funding from external sources in its COVID fight.
The speaker of parliament, Alban Bagbin has placed a ban on all activities from Ghana’s finance ministry after the minister, Ken Ofori Atta failed to turn up again to answer some 16 questions which included how COVID funds were spent.
“Yes, last week, for good reasons, [his appearance in parliament] wasn’t possible and usually the Business Committee is given the opportunity to do the allotting. So the Minister for Finance was allotted today to come and answer a number of questions. The Minister is not available today, we are told.
“The Minister spoke to me why he is not available today but before today, I had given a directive and that directive was to the effect that the Minister should appear before this House to account for monies that we approved for him to use to lead the country as a ministry for us to see how we respond to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“A lot of questions have been raised in respect of that so he should come to account to the good people of how that state resources have been applied by his Ministry to the benefit of the people. I did indicate that until that is done, the motion that requested the approval of this house, for more monies to be given him, that is his ministry, for the purpose of Covid-19 be on the hold until he answers the questions, I think that still holds.
“I will go further to say that until the answer is provided, until he goes through the accountability process, we will not take that motion. With respect to the questions, well, today he has another request before us, that will also be affected, until he comes to respond to the questions and to submit the statement, given explanation, as to how that money has been applied, we will not entertain any business from that ministry, mark my words,” Mr Bagbin said.
Speaking to 3FM, Prof Gatsi said any further delay would only alert partners who support the Ghanaian government to tag the country along with others which misused COVID funds in other parts of the African Continent.
“Government should be weighing the importance of this development and whatever engagement it brings on the Finance Minister which he is not able to attend to the call of Parliament.
“He should prioritise and come to parliament because it is not a good image for government. We are becoming concerned and accepting the expression of people that perhaps the Covid-19 funds were not spent appropriately and that is not good for the country especially so when not all the Covid funds came from the government, part of the money came from outside governments.
“Even though they are also managing the Cocud19 affairs, they were willing to sacrifice to support us so it is a wrong signal we are sending out there. I think we just have to inform the Finance Minister that the reputation of the government about Covid-19 expenditure is very important, that is being recording in some countries in Africa so we do not want to be added.”