General News of Monday, 7 January 2019
The current head and three former Chief Executive Officer (CEOs) of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and Zoomlion, have been ordered to refund a total amount of GHC411, 433, 086 following revelations of wrongful payments made to the waste management company during their respective tenures.
In separate letters to the four CEOs of the Authority; Sylvester Mensah, Ras Boateng, Samuel Annor and Nathaniel Otoo, the Auditor General, Daniel Domelevo stated that after an audit into the accounts of the NHIA for the period from January 2007 to April 2018, the financial infractions were noted, prompting the surcharges and ultimatum.
According to the audit, the NHIA, under the tenure of Sylvester Mensah, is said to have made a payment of GH?111,401,650 to Zoomlion without following due processes.
The payment which was authorized by Mr Mensah and the former DCE in charge of Finance & Investment of the Authority at the time, Alex Nartey from, June 2009 to May 2015, is contrary to Regulation 39 of Financial Administration, Regulations L.I. 1802.
The two persons, along with Zoomlion were surcharged an amount of GH?202,013,257 and are to refund a total amount of GH?313,414,907.09.
The NHIA CEO from 2015 to 2017, Nathaniel Otoo, along with Mr Nartey and Zoomlion, has also been asked to refund an amount of GH?66,918,032 after the payment of GH?47,000,000 was made to Zoomlion without due procedure.
Ras Boateng, who was CEO of NHIA from 2007 to 2009 was also surcharged an amount of GH?583,000 along with Zoomlion after payments of GH?5,500,000 were made to the waste management company without recourse to due processes.
The two parties are now to refund a total amount of GH?6,083,000 into the Consolidated Fund within 14 days.
Samuel Annor, who has served as NHIA CEO since March 2017, Francis Owusu, then DCE in charge of Finance & Investment and Zoomlion were ordered to refund an amount of GH?25,017,147.21.
This is after the audit revealed that wrongful payments of GH?21,000,000 were made to the waste management company.
All surcharged parties were directed to make the payments within 14 days of receiving the notice and to produce proof of payment on a Treasury Counterfoil Receipt (TCR), to the Legal Unit of the Ghana Audit Service.
The note from the Auditor General added that if the monies are not paid before the deadline civil proceedings will be commenced to recover the amount from those surcharged.
It is however unclear when the parties involved were served the notices considering that it is dated September 2018, and that the 14-day ultimatum given to each of them should have expired already.
There was also no explanation of the nature of the contract executed by Zoomlion for which these huge sums were paid to them by the NHIA.
A-G on the hunt
The Auditor-General earlier said his outfit has engaged the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to help recover some GHc500 million from individuals and institutions who misappropriated state funds.
The amount involves outstanding amounts surcharged by the Auditor-General.
The Auditor-General last year alone retrieved some GHc67 million it surcharged persons who could not account for monies they dispensed.
The GHc67 million according to the report arose from monies paid back to the State from institutions who committed financial infractions between 2013 and November 2018.
The Auditor-General in the report said the amount was as a result of follow-up on recommendations in its previous reports.
Domelevo in a Citi News interview said they are also liaising with the Office of the Special Prosecutor to prosecute the criminal aspect of such financial infractions.