Mahama Cited in a $28,000 SA Trip By the Auditor General

The Auditor-General in a report on Public accounts of Ghana has cited President John Dramani Mahama in an SA trip. According to the AG reports, Mahama used his office as the vice president in 2011 to lavish over $28,000 on his family on a trip to South Africa.

The Auditor-General’s report indicated that Ghana’s High commission in Pretoria, South Africa, spent $28,692 on the president and his family for their transport, accommodation and repair of a vehicle while they were in that country.

According to reports from Daily Guide, the president’s SA trip issue was raised at the Public Accounts Committee(PAC) of Parliament’s sitting yesterday. This was when the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hanna Tetteh, and officials from her ministry appeared before it to respond to questions on the 2011, 2012 and 2013 reports of the Auditor General on the various Ghanaian missions abroad.

The Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, who raised the SA trip issue, wanted to find out from the minister the kind of visit the then vice president undertook with his family that warranted the Ghanaian mission in South Africa spending that amount on him and his family. He also wanted to know the actual number of family members on that trip. But the chairman of the committee, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, argued that since the report had captured the amount as having been settled, there was no need to deliberate further on the issue.

However, the Atwima Mponua MP, who is a member of the Public Accounts Committee, told Daily Guide that the matter of the president being cited in the Auditor-General’s report was so significant that it could not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. This he said cannot be overlooked, especially when all those captured in the report in one way or the other had been found culpable of violating the relevant laws of the public financial management and were also said to be financially undisciplined.

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According to him, “For the Auditor-General to be bold to mention the president’s name in its report for such financial impropriety, then it means that there is indeed something wrong somewhere and we all as Ghanaians must start asking questions”. He went further to emphasize that this development could be seen as unprecedented in the history of this country. He said it is pertinent that Ghanaians be told the nature of the president’s trip to South Africa which warranted such huge expenditure – whether it was an official trip or not and the reason for that trip too. He insisted that “Ghanaians must be told the full details of the trip for which the money that was not officially sanctioned for was paid”.

Asiamah concluded by stressing the possible negative impact of such actions on the management of public funds. He added that the official work of Ghanaian missions abroad is sure to be adversely affected if such situations persist.