Recent reports have revealed that Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) exhausted about GHC 99, 663 on the distribution of Christmas hampers. This was said to have taken place during the 2012 Christmas and New Year break. The Auditor General, Richard Quartey indicated this discovery in a recent report, decrying the act and calling for sanctions on PURC.
Government had in December 2015, reinforced the ban on the procurement of Christmas gifts and presents with state funds by different government bodies.
The Minister for Communications, Dr. Edward Omane Boamah, had signed a statement to that effect, reiterating the 2013 directive banning all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from buying Christmas gifts using resources from the consolidated fund.
The Auditor-General also decried the non-implementation of its reports submitted to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament for action. Mr Quartey who said the relevance of auditing is for corrective actions to be taken by the PAC, expressed his dissatisfaction over the irregularities in the committee.
The issue of distributing hampers during festive periods has become a normal thing for individuals and companies in the country. There have been arguments on the matter as some people maintain that such acts on the part of government MDAs are a drain on the nation’s purse. Considering the fact that there are lots of impeding factors on the growth of the economy, one could say the reason for the ban is cogent.
Apart from Mahama’s directive in 2013, late President John Atta Mills in 2009, ordered the various ministries to desist from using state resources to purchase such Christmas hampers and gifts, something he believed contributed to the high levels of corruption.
The directive which was initially meant for Ministries alone was in 2013 extended to include the Departments and Agencies by President Mahama, due to the intense effect it was having on the economy.