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Heads must roll over forgery, fraudulent claims – Ace Ankomah

A leading member of pressure group, OccupyGhana has called for an immediate prosecution of persons involved in alleged cases of forgery and fraudulent claims detailed in a special Audit Report.

Weighing the offences committed, Ace Ankomah said it is only through prosecution that the situation could be obviated in the country.

The private legal practitioner told Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, the offences captured in the report are outside the powers of the Auditor-General.

“It must go to the Attorney-General for prosecutions to commence,” he said, expressing frustration over the repetition of financial misappropriation.

The Auditor-General’s Department has made staggering revelations relating to the expenditure commitments of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as at December 31, 2016.

In some of the cases, contract documents were doctored and presented by officials of some MDAs to made claims for contractors. There was also a situation of overpayment and there were some payments the Auditor-General stopped for the lack of contractual evidence.

The Roads and Highways Ministry, for instance, made a claim for the payment of ¢75,053,875.39 representing money allegedly owed some contractors. But the Auditors realized a payment of ¢100,679,315.28 had already been paid by the Chief Finance Director at the Ministry, representing an excess payment of ¢25,625,439.89 in respect of the same contracts.

Mr Ankomah has asked for tougher sanctions on persons found to have played a role in the questionable transactions captured in the Audit Report.

“I expect there will be a surcharge of the officials who made the [over]payment…and they can decide to pay within the 60-day period,” he said in the cases of overpayment.

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But in situations where documents were forged with the purpose of duping the state, he suggested the prosecution of those found culpable.

“Clear offences have been committed,” he said, citing an Armed Forces Revolutionary Council decree that makes document forgery a major crime punishable by a long jail term.

“This has gone on for too long for it not to be deliberate,” the tough-speaking lawyer said.

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