The Public Account Committee (PAC) headed by the Deputy Speaker; Hon Sengepoh Solomon Thomas has stood down the Ministry of Finance for the absence of the Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance in the Well of Parliament.

The summoning of the Ministry of Finance by the PAC is due to the 2019 Audit queries levied against the ministry.

According to Hon Thomas, the committee cannot continue with the hearing without the Financial Secretary, Sahr Jusu, who is the major player in the ministry and who also has all answers relating to the allegations in the 2019 Auditor General’s Report.

The Audit Service said they reviewed and observed that several withdrawals from the ministry’s imprest account totaling Le6,642,908,418 were made without internal payment vouchers and the relevant supporting documents.

Auditors also observed that internal payment vouchers totaling Le253,734,450 were provided but without adequate supporting documents.

These were in contravention of section 121(5) of the Public Financial Management Regulation of 2018. There is a risk that these payments were made for goods and services that were not actually delivered to the ministry.

It was observed that withdrawals amounting to Le5,157,290,520 were made from the imprest account by a person, who is neither a permanent staff nor a contract staff of the Ministry of Finance. Several of these withdrawals were without relevant supporting documents. There is a risk that the said fund may not have been used for its internal payment.

On the issue of the internal payment vouchers and supporting documents relating to Le6,642,908,418 withdrawn from the imprest accounts, the auditors observed that the of Le2,831,870,656 were still without internal payments.

Out of the sum of Le3,811,037,762 internal payment vouchers to the tune of Le1,140,788,750 were provided but without supporting documents.

Withdrawals totaling Le457,663,662 from the imprest account were without adequate supporting documents as well, while internal payment vouchers relating to Le253,734,450 were still without adequate supporting documents and there remained party resolved.

The auditors also observed that payments totaling Le4,830,310,115 were withdrawn from the imprest account by persons other than the requesting party or vendor. There is the risk that the said payment may not have been used for the purpose for which the transaction was initiated.

According to Nightwatch Newspaper, the Deputy Speaker said in the absence of the Financial Secretary on all queries the matter will come up on Thursday and the Financial Secretary, Sahr Jusu should come along with all his team to defend such allegations as stated in the 2019 Auditor General’s Report.