A Research Fellow at the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Dr Kwame Asiedu Sarpong has described President Akufo-Addo’s comment on the appropriation of Covid-19 funds as laughable.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address on Wednesday, President Akufo-Addo asserted that nothing dishonourable was done with the Covid-19 funds.
According to him, the accusations are unfounded as government did what was necessary to prevent the spread of the virus.
However, speaking in an interview on Joy FM’s News Night, Mr. Asiedu Sarpong shared a different view on the subject matter.
“Isn’t that laughable? I will tell you why it is laughable,” he said amid laughter.
According to him, the President’s comment flies in the face of the revelations of the Auditor-General who has the mandate to conduct audits to determine whether public funds have been utilised appropriately.
Mr Asiedu Sarpong said though the processes have not been finalised, “the President is even pronouncing judgement before the Public Accounts Committee has sat.”
“He has the right to state his innocence, granted. But when the Auditor-General has spoken. When there are processes that allow you to exonerate yourself, isn’t it prudent that you allow the processes to be exhausted as a believer in our constitutional democracy? If we all have the right to exonerate ourselves that will lead to lawlessness,” he stressed.
He continued “How can the President be clearing people even before the Public Accounts Committee when serious egregious facts are in the Auditor-General’s report that have to be perused by PAC.”
“How can the President come and tell us that by his mouth and his unilateral fiat that nothing went amiss?” he asked.
It would be recalled that the Auditor-General in January 2023 published a report on some infractions in government’s expenditure for Covid-19 from March 2020 to June 2022.
Some of the corrupt practices that were uncovered include; paying a total of US$607,419.02 out of US$4,049,460.12 for the purchase of 26 ambulances that were never delivered, paying unapproved GH₵151,500 by the Information Ministry to its own staff as Covid insurance, and paying for $80 million worth of vaccines by the government that was never delivered, amongst others.
The report also indicates that the country lost over GH₵1 billion through various irregularities including unapproved and illegal payment of allowances.
But the President in his speech outlined a number of measures implemented by his administration that justify the sums of money expended during the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the Health Committee is set to commence a public hearing on the Covid-19 expenditure by the government.
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