COVID-19 Funds: It’s sad people are jailed for stealing goats but thieves walk freely – Domelevo
Former Auditor General Daniel Domelevo has called on his successor, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, to surcharge and prosecute all persons implicated in the audit report on the Government of Ghana’s COVID-19 expenditure.
According to Domelevo, the Auditor General is required to disallow, surcharge or even prosecute persons and entities involved in any unlawful government expenditure he comes across under Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Speaking in a JoyNews interview monitored by GhanaWeb, on January 26, 2023, the former Auditor General added that persons who steal money from the state are allowed to walk freely while ordinary Ghanaians are given long prison sentences when they engage in petty theft.
“The report will go to Parliament. And I expect that Parliament will not delay on the report. They should refer it quickly to the Public Accounts Committee. And the Public Accounts Committee should call the various audited institutions to book to ensure that the right thing is done.
“I also think that for issues that border on criminality, the Auditor General should liaise with the Office of the Special Prosecutor so that we can get all those people immediately. It beats my mind in a country whereby when you meet petty thieves, the people who steal bananas and goats, we sentence them to several years.
“But if we meet public officers who steal money belonging to all of us, as a result of which our systems are not working, hospitals are not functioning, schools are not good, our roads are bad, all that we do is just report it in the audit report; at best we collect the money and they are free,” he said.
The audit report on Ghana’s COVID-19 expenditure showed that nearly 50 percent of the money the state mobilised to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country was used for budget support and not issues related to the outbreak.
The report, which was prepared by the Auditor General Department, indicated that the government raised nearly GHC22 billion, as of June 2022, to fight COVID-19 in Ghana through the Contingency Fund, the World Bank Group, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union (EU).
However, out of the total amount raised to fight COVID-19, only about GHC12 billion (a little over 50 percent of the total funds raised) was used for activities geared toward fighting the spread of the virus and its impact in Ghana.
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