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Auditor-General orders refund of GH₵151,500 Ministry of Information staff paid themselves

It has come to light through the Auditor-General’s report that the staff that senior management and other supporting staff of the Ministry of Information paid themselves GH₵151,500 as a Covid-19 risk allowance for coming to work during the lockdown period.

Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

According to the report that has sparked angry reactions among Ghanaians, the said payment was done without approval from the Chief of Staff, making it illegitimate.

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“During our review, we noted that senior management staff and other supporting staff of the Ministry of Information paid themselves a total amount of G111151,500.00 as COVID-19 risk allowance for coming to work during the lockdown period contrary to the above Presidential directives and without approval from the Office of Chief of Staff,” the Auditor General’s report says in part.

The AG is therefore asking for a recovery of the money, emphasizing that regulation 78 of the Public Financial Management Regulations, 2019 provides that a Principal Spending Officer of a covered entity shall personally ensure payments in respect of that covered entity are valid, accurate and legal. The said officer shall also ensure that evidence of services received, certificate for work done and any other supporting documents exist.

“We recommended that the amount of CH1151,500.00 should be recovered from the beneficiary staff and paid into the Auditor-General's Recoveries account.”

The only workers who were entitled to risk allowance during the covid-19 lockdown were the health workers.

It would be recalled that on 5 April 2020, President Akufo-Addo announced an insurance package, with an assured sum of G111350,000 for each health personnel and Allied Professional at the forefront of the covid-19 fight, with a daily allowance of CHC150.00 being paid to contact tracers.

The President also indicated that all health workers will not pay taxes on their emoluments for the next three months, i.e., April, May and June. He further stated that all frontline health workers will receive an additional allowance of 50 percent of their basic salary per month for March, April, May and June.

The package for the frontline workers did not include the Ministry of Information staff.

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