Alhaji Hanan Abdul-Wahab (left) and his Board Chair Henry Nana Boakye
The National Food Buffer Stock Company (NAFCO) has been indicted by the Auditor-General for engaging in a scheme of over-invoicing payments.
The AG, in its latest report on the audit of the government COVID-19 expenditure for the period between March 2020 and June 2022, said the auditors noted during their review that, between April and September 2020, NAFCO received three payments totalling GH¢42,237,770.
“However, we noted that waybills from the various institutions amounted to GH¢40,831,685.00 resulting in an over-invoicing of GH¢1,406,085.00,” the report indicated.
The AG wants the Chief Executive Officer, Alhaji Hanan Abdul-Wahab, to pay back GH¢40,831,685 into the government’s chest.
“We recommended to the CEO of National Food Buffer Stock Company to refund the excess amount paid to the Auditor General’s Recoveries Account,” the report stressed.
The AG also wants the Finance Ministry to recover an amount of GH¢1,754,156.25 from a company called Smart Infraco Limited and pay it to the Commissioner- General of GRA.
According to the report, on 6th May 2020, Ministry of Finance paid Smart Infraco Limited GH¢23,388,750 for the provision of Smart Workspace platforms for MDAs to facilitate virtual workspace, but did not deduct withholding tax of GH¢1,754,156.25 on the payment made to Smart Infraco Limited.
It also said the ministry should process payments to service providers and transfers to MDAs in respect of COVID-19 expenditures through the GIFMIS.
“We noted that a total amount of GH¢543,058,709.13 was recorded as expenditure on the GIFMIS and lodged in an account. Out of this account, 194 payment vouchers totalling GH¢543,058,709.13 were processed and paid,” the report stated.
“We noted that the Ministry of Health on behalf of the Government of Ghana paid an amount of US$120,192,379.80 to UNICEF/AVAT for the supply of vaccines.
“However, 5,109,600.00 doses of vaccines valued at US$38,322,000.00 were supplied to the National Cold Room leaving a difference of US$81,870,379.80 with UNICEF/AVAT.
“We recommended that the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health should renegotiate with UNICEF/AVAT to recover the outstanding amount,” the report said.
It pointed out that the ministry, without the approval of the Central Tender Review Committee, increased the cost of five contracts with a total contract sum of GH¢24,256,500.00 by GH¢4,017,000.00 through variation orders.
“We recommended that the Chief Director should seek retroactive approval to avoid disallowance of such variation.
The report also said the Ministry of Health entered into a 25-year Finance Lease Agreement at a total lease value of GH¢15,265,000.00 in 2020 to be used as a holding and isolation centre in Adaklu in the Volta Region.
The works, the report noted, included re-modelling the existing buildings to be used as holding, treatment and isolation centres, but could not use the facility for the intended purpose which resulted in an additional cost of GH¢20,382,247.70.
“We recommended to the Chief Director to consider outright acquisition of the buildings,” it suggested.
By Ernest Kofi Adu