The Ranking Member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Ghana, Kofi Okyere Agyakum, has advised Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to desist from participating in sister city programmes since it has no significant benefit to offer the assemblies.
According to him, contrary to the proposed benefits advertised by the promoters of such programmes, the assemblies gain absolutely nothing except to serve the parochial interest of the leadership of the assemblies who take these trips around the world to satisfy their own egos.
“Really, I am thinking that this businesses of Sister City connections and networking if you look at it, most of the time it doesn’t bring any benefits to our assemblies. Sometimes it just an ego trip by the DCE’s. That amount of money can do a lot of training in-house and like you said, there are more serious things you can use that money to do. GHC 30,000 for registration and maybe another GHC 30,000 for the trip. This GHC 60,000 can do something beneficial for the assembly.
“I am just talking to all of you. Sometimes we have bills that we are not able to pay. Very essential bills, but then because it concerns you and the DCE you quickly bulldoze your way through and ask that it be facilitated. Which is nothing more than an ego trip. I will advise you to desist from that,” he observed.
The Ranking Member who is also the MP for Fante Akwa South, gave the advice on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at the ongoing sittings of the Public Accounts Committee to consider the Auditor General’s Report for the year ending 31st December 2015 and 2016.
A Sister City relationship is one where a town or city share planned activities and visits with a similar town or city in another country in order to share and compare notes on best known practices for the development of their jurisdictions.
The issue came up when the officials from the Nkwanta North District Assembly appeared before the Committee for their failure to satisfy the Auditors query of a payment of GH 30,000.00 for an abortive trip to the USA for a Global Sister City programme in 2015.
According to the audit report, “Under an Economic Partnership Agreement, management of Nkwanta North District Assembly paid a total amount of GHC 30,000.00 to Messrs. Africa Global Sister City Foundation (AGSCF) USA to facilitate VISA acquisition and other traveling arrangements to enable the District Chief Executive undertake a trip to Arkansas, USA for an event from 21 to 29 June 2015.”
However, the District Chief Executive at the time was unable to make the trip due to the inability of the organizers to honour their part of the bargain. Yet the money was not refunded to the assembly.
Responding to the query at the Public Accounts Committee, the District Chief Executive for Nkwanta North, Johnson Kwame Jakaye, said all efforts to retrieve the money has proven futile since a clause in the agreement said monies paid was not refundable.
The Chairman of the Committee, James Klutse Avedzi, has given a ruling for the assembly to furnish the committee with the details of the one who issued two separate cheques of GHC 25,000 and GHC 5,000 amounting to the GHC 30,000 and details from the bank to determine the one who cashed the cheques.
The Chairman’s request is to ascertain those who are culpable and liable to be surcharged for the loss amount to be refunded to government.
Source: Clement Akoloh||africanewsradio.com