The issue of institutions abusing study leave continue to headline the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) probing work, with the latest culprit being a lecturer of the Bolgatanga Technical University.
The PAC, which is hearing cases of infractions and misappropriations captured in the Auditor General’s report for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) in the northern zone, has directed the technical university to retrieve within a month the GH¢236,000 paid to a lecturer, who was granted study leave but failed to return to serve the university after completion.
The directive is part of PAC’s week-long zonal public hearings in Tamale to probe lingering issues raised in the Auditor-General’s report that have been referred to the committee for consideration.
The public hearing, which begun last Tuesday and expected to end on Saturday, will enable the 25-member committee to look into the 2020 Audited Accounts of MMDAs, tertiary and second cycle institutions in the Northern, North East, Savannah, Upper East and Upper West regions.
Last Tuesday hearing centred on reports on the Bolgatanga Technical University and Dr Hilla Liman Technical University in Wa for procurement violations and infractions.
For example, Dr Hilla Liman Technical University did not obtain approval from the appropriate authorities before purchasing furniture for the university.
The committee also gave a one-month deadline to the Bolgatanga Technical University to refund GH¢4,000 lost in the disposal of a machine purchased to produce water for students and staff.
According to the Auditor-General’s Report, the university paid GH¢10,000 for the machine in 2014, but it was never used and was sold to the Presbyterian Church in Bolgatanga for GH¢6,000 in 2020, resulting in the loss.
In response to the development, the Chairman of the committee, Dr James Klutse Avedzi, directed both technical universities to remedy the anomalies as soon as possible and submit documents of proof for auditing or face a surcharge.
He expressed worry about why public institutions continued to violate procurement procedures, in spite of repeated reminders from committees over the years.
As a result, Dr Avedzi advised heads of government institutions to follow the country’s laws in order to ensure accountability and prevent financial malfeasance and other impropriety.
In response to the report, the Vice-Chancellor of Bolgatanga Technical University, Professor Samuel Erasmus Alnaa, said the university had made several attempts to secure funding to construct a structure to begin the operation of the machine purchased but had been unsuccessful.