The Office of the Attorney-General (A-G) has been tasked with investigating and prosecuting the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS) for failing to recoup illegal payments of around GH$1.5 million made to select employees and suppliers.
The referral was issued by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament after it was determined that the management of RCS had not properly implemented the recommendations given in the report from the 2021 Auditor-General.
According to the report, the management was required to recover GH787,608.00, which had been deposited into unapproved accounts in the name of the Ghana Red Cross Madina and had unauthorised signatories.
As part of the GH 3,731,596.90 that the Mastercard Foundation transferred into the bank account of the Central Regional Office on June 17, 2020 in support of the national society’s COVID-19 response plan, the management was also required to retrieve an unaccounted GH 274,436.33.
The audit also instructed management to recover GH 522,901.20 in losses realised as a result of procurement violations and the failure to deliver products purchased using Mastercard Foundation monies.
The decision was decided when the Ghana Red Cross Society’s administration appeared before the committee, according to PAC Chairman James Kutse Avedzi.
He claimed that any delays in getting the money back wouldn’t stop others from making the same financial mistakes.
The committee, according to the chairman, is counting on all heads of management to lay out a plan and a mechanism for carrying out suggestions and recovering misappropriated funds as listed in the report.
Mr. Avedzi warned that failure to do so would probably result in another instance of the infraction in subsequent audit procedures.
He mentioned that the committee had made the decision to send all procurement breaches to the Office of the Attorney-General for further prosecution of the officers concerned in order to combat the escalating mismanagement of procurement operations.
Mr. Avedzi requested that the Red Cross enhance its financial management procedures and accountability in order to motivate the public to support its operations.
“You are a vital organisation, especially after a disaster. To help you out financially so that you can carry out your task, many people are prepared to do so. However, he added, “How do you expect them to support you if this is how you want to manage people’s contributions?
The GRCS’s interim Secretary General, Solomon Gayoni Gbolo, stated that his organisation was waiting for the police investigations into two concerns to be finished before deciding what to do next.
He said that with the assistance of the police, those Society officers who were accused of misconduct in the report had been fired and their property, including a vehicle, had been seized.
The Society, according to Mr. Gbolo, is extremely concerned about the misapplication and misuse of donor monies and stated that “to address every concern that has been raised in the report, we are diligently at work.”
To decrease its portfolio of non-recoverable debt, the Forestry Commission had been counselled to take a proactive approach to debt recovery.
The committee thought it was unacceptable that the commission was owing a total of nearly GH$6 million, some of which had been outstanding for more than 20 years.
John Allotey, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, stated that the organisation has recovered roughly GH3.2 million while working with the Ministry of Finance to find a way to pay the remaining GH2.6 million.