After Senegal, Ghana is the latest African country where officials have been called out for misappropriating or mismanaging funds dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ghana audit service report on the government’s covid-19 expenditure for the period going from March 2020 to June 2022 is widely commented on social media.
In all, GH¢21,844,189,185.24 (over a billion US $) was mobilised to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana.
The 119-page long report highlighted irregularities in the management of some tranches of the funds.
Among them, the payment of unapproved risk allowance at the ministry of information. It appeared that “senior management staff and other supporting staff” of the ministry paid themselves a total amount of GH¢151,500.00 as COVID-19 risk allowance for coming to work during the lockdown period.”
That went against “presidential directives and without approval from the office of chief of staff.”
Indeed only frontline health workers were to receive an additional allowance of 50 percent of their basic salary per month for March, April, May and June.
Failure to take delivery of vaccines
According to the report, the authorities failed to take delivery of some COVID-19 jabs it paid for. The Ghanaian Ministry of Health paid an amount of US$120,192,379.80 to UNICEF/AVAT for the supply of vaccines.
However, just “5,109,600.00 doses of vaccines valued at US$38,322,000.00 were supplied to the National Cold Room.”
The chief director of the Ministry of Health explained that the amount was paid in anticipation of receiving all the vaccines within a short space of time for vaccination in the country.
He cited “unexpected vaccine donations into the country, coupled with limited vaccine storage capacity and the slow uptake by Ghanaians to be vaccinated” as factors that made it impossible to receive the Janssen “vaccines that had been paid for”.
This was leaving a difference of over 81 billion US$.
Some Ghanaians took to Twitter to voice their disappointment and tagged the report #NPPGrandCovidTheft.
The Ghana audit service carried out the audit in accordance with its statutory mandate and following a request by the Minister for Finance.
Many officials in sub-Saharan Africa are suspected of misappropriating or mismanaging funds dedicated to fighting the Covid-19 pandemic, including in Cameroon, Guinea and South Africa.