Business News of Tuesday, 28 June 2016
The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has been cited in the 2014 Auditor General’s Report for engaging in financial improprieties and management inaction, leading to a financial loss to the state.
The infractions included money received without an official receipt, excessive cash holdings, purchases from non-Value Added Tax (VAT) registered suppliers, fuel, and lubricants not accounted for, payment of salaries for work not done and the late submission of financial statements for audit.
The directors of EOCO, led by the acting Executive Director, Mr Justice Tsar Yao, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday to answer questions related to the queries raised in the report.
Members of PAC asked the directors to improve their performance, since the office which investigates other departments and agencies was not supposed to be committing such financial infractions.
Mr Yao admitted that it was not in the interest of EOCO to be given such a name tag since it had the mandate to investigate other institutions.
He said he had been telling his team that “if EOCO takes a frog, it is news, but if another department takes a cow, it is hidden in a small space”.
No official receipt
The report indicated that amounts totalling $50,000 and GHC1,518,410 respectively paid into EOCO Exhibit Cedis Account and two government of Ghana accounts, between June and November 2012 from various payees were not covered by official receipts.
Responding, Mr Yao said the cashier who failed to issue the official receipts had been cautioned, and she had since “repented”.
He said now receipts were issued for all money received by the cashier.
Non-VAT registered suppliers
According to the report, the management of EOCO overlooked Regulation 183 (4) of the Financial Administration Regulation (FAR) 2004, (LI 1802) and made purchases amounting to GHC74,960 from non-VAT registered entities between January 2011 and December 2012.
It cited the EOCO management for deliberate disregard for the FAR, which resulted in the state losing revenue of GHC¢9,370 which could have been used for development projects.
Mr Yao told the PAC the GHC74,960 was an aggregate of petty purchases that EOCO had made from legitimate business institutions. It included purchases of some operational equipment.
He said EOCO ensured that it made purchases from only tax-compliant companies.
The report disclosed that 20 officers who were either dismissed, resigned, died or vacated their post were wrongly paid a total of GHC53,974 in 2013, contrary to the FAR.
It recommended that the management of EOCO recover the unearned salaries from the officers and pay same to the chest.
Mr Yao told the PAC that EOCO management had made efforts to recover some of the money, but there was an outstanding amount of GHC37,891.
He said the management had written to the former employees to pay back the money or face punitive measures.
He assured the PAC that EOCO would retrieve the money, saying that “EOCO will ensure that what is due the state will be given to the state”.
Report to police
The Chairman of the PAC, Mr. Kwaku Agyeman Manu, suggested to EOCO to report the former employees to the police to facilitate the recovery of the money.
Mr. Yao said EOCO would take the advice of the PAC and report the former employees to the police.