The 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana mandates the local government authorities – Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) – to formulate policies and programmes and to design a plan of actions that will help alleviate the excruciating poverty and sufferings of their people within their respective localities.
In fact, long before the promulgation of the Constitution, the policymakers acknowledged the widening poverty gap between the rural people and the urban areas in the country, hence the introduction of the local government concept in 1988, championed by the Rawlings’ Provisional National Defense Council (PNDC) Administration.
40 Years On
Over four decades since the inception of this laudable system, the rationale behind the decentralisation of the District Assembly Policy is still a million miles away from being realised because the whole system is fraught with deep-seated corruptions.
From all indications, it is as if the District Assemblies have become a fertile ground where some unscrupulous persons who are privileged to find themselves in positions of authority at the local level will loot and go scot-free.
Sadly, in the bargain, local government officials have become ‘local gods’ that nobody dares hold them accountable for their nefarious activities in the districts and this is still happening around the countryside.
Piles of Audit Reports
Audit Reports over the years have shown how the managers of the MMDAs have grossly and scandalously mismanaged resources of the people entrusted into their care.
Under the 4th Republic, government after another has woefully failed to punish these corrupt local officials who are milking the districts, thereby depriving the poor of their due.
Sadly, the administration of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over the last four years is no different than previous governments. Shameful activities of these local government officials at the District Assemblies continue unabated and ultimately, and the end the nation suffers from endless financial constraints.
2019 Auditor’s Report.
It is sad to note that the 2019 audit report published by the Acting Auditor General on the official website of the Ghana Audit Service shows damning findings that virtually make nonsense of the policy of the decentralisation of the country.
The audit findings indicate that within 3years of President Akufo-Addo’s administration, the state lost a whopping sum of sixty-one million, four hundred and ninety-five thousand, four hundred and two Ghana cedis, sixty-nine pesewas (GH¢61,495,402.69) to corruptions.
In fact, this audit report covers the financial statement of accounts submitted by 258 District Assemblies across the country from 2017 to 2019. However, the Adaklu District and the Keta Municipal Assembly have not submitted their 2019 financial statements for audit purposes, contrary to Law 921.
Indeed, in the assemblies, this amount spans a period of three years and covers various forms of financial irregularities, including misappropriation of funds and unsubstantiated payments.
In 2017 only, the country lost a total of GH 12, 223,560.85. Cash irregularities amounted to GH¢8,452,270.81; procurement and stores irregularities accounted for GH¢407,498.02; contract irregularities cost GH¢2,857,615.86; statutory tax, and deduction abnormalities summed up to GH¢88,114.86 and payroll irregularities totaled GH¢418,061.30.
In 2018, the irregularities cost the State a sum of GH 29.737.230.17. Whereas the cash flow irregularities amounted to 26,397,410.07 GH, the supply and store irregularities amounted to 573,915.10 GH. Whereas contract irregularities accounted for GH¢1, 631,646.64, statutory tax, and deduction irregularities cost GH¢807,252.92. Meanwhile, payroll irregularities accounted for GH¢327,005.44.
Currently, in the 2019 audit report, GH¢19,534,611.67 was a total amount the nation has lost through irregularities. Cash irregularities stood at GH¢16,085,998.24; procurement and stores irregularities cost GH¢245,639.90; Contract irregularities accounted for GH¢2,164,502.57; statutory tax and deduction irregularities totaled GH¢807,252.92 and payroll irregularities cost GH¢504,349.18.
Although thecrystallens.org is aware that the Audit Service is yet to start the 2020 auditing of the statement of accounts of the MMDAs, the report we receive from the districts across the country stinks so badly that Ghanaians ought to take a serious interest in the activities of the local government officials.