Storekeepers in Several Districts Misappropriate [email protected] Funds

Officials of Municipal and District Assemblies who appeared before the [email protected] Commission of Inquiry on Thursday said their storekeepers were liable for the misappropriation of proceeds from the sale of jubilee souvenirs. They told the Commission that those storekeepers could not provide documented evidence of the quantity of anniversary items they received, sold and those distributed free of charge. Mr. Samuel Gyedu-Nuakoh, Nkoranza South District Coordinating Director, told the Commission that the assembly�s storekeeper Mr. Isaac Kombat, probably embezzled proceeds from the sale of the anniversary items. �My Lord, it is possible the storekeeper sold and pocketed the proceeds from the sale of souvenirs,� he disclosed. Mr. Gyedu-Nuakoh who was asked by the Commission�s counsel to explain why he held that view, said Mr. Kombat was not able to make available evidence of the quantity of items the assembly received from the [email protected] Secretariat; neither was he able to state the number of items sold and those given out for free to constituents. He said the storekeeper also provided inaccurate information on the quantity of anniversary clothes received from the Brong Ahafo Regional Coordinating Council (BARCC). He also said the storekeeper claimed the assembly received 75 pieces of anniversary cloth when investigations revealed that the assembly was allocated 125 pieces of the anniversary cloth amounting to GH�30,000. Mr. Gyedu-Nuakoh stated that the storekeeper, who had been transferred to the Pru District Assembly, was reported to have said that no waybill accompanied the anniversary souvenirs and for which reason he could not trace records of the items received by the assembly. "My Lord, the information given by the storekeeper was from memory. He did not give me a breakdown of the quantity of items sold and distributed freely when I asked him to provide evidence,� said Mr. Gyedu-Nuakoh . Mr. Gyedu-Nuakoh said when he demanded an explanation from the storekeeper as to why the items were given out for free when they were supposed to be sold, he (storekeeper) replied that the former Nkoranza South District Chief Executive James Kwabena Appiabua asked him to distribute the items freely to assembly members, staff and the public. �My Lord, the storekeeper handled the transaction as a private business, and I least expected that someone who had worked at the assembly for several years could have created this kind of mess.� When asked why he had not monitored the storekeeper, he said he had to attend to other issues to ensure the assembly celebrated the anniversary in a grand style �so by the time I realized it was too late; the lapses had been created�. Mr. Gyedu-Nuakoh said the assembly was yet to take a decision on how it would render account of proceeds from the sale of the items to the [email protected] Secretariat. Mr. Randolph Korzie Sambo, Bekwai Municipal Coordinating Director and Mr Abubakari Inusah, Savelugu Nanton District Coordinating Director, painted similar pictures of misappropriation of funds by their storekeepers. While Mr Sambo blamed the inability of the assembly to provide evidence to support the free distribution of jubilee items by the storekeeper, he(storekeeper) kept the accounts department in the dark when he took delivery of the souvenirs. Mr. Inusah on his part entreated the Commission to rely on the memory of the storekeeper whom he alleged had no evidence of signatures of list of names supplied with souvenirs. He disclosed that the assembly which was cash-strapped at the time could not afford to pay for the anniversary cloths therefore; the storekeeper was mandated to raise funds from private sources to purchase the cloths pending reimbursement by the [email protected] Secretariat. Asked by the Commission why the assembly resorted to such a decision to ask a storekeeper to raise money, Mr. Inusah said �My Lord, most often when the assembly is in distress, we rely on him to raise funds because he is from the region and the longest serving staff�, a situation, a member of the Commission described as unacceptable. Officials of other metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies who appeared before the Commission were; Tamale, Yendi, Bosomtwe, Tolon Kumbungu, West Mamprusi, Zabzugu Tatale and Kintampo South. They accounted for the GH�10,000 provided by the [email protected] Secretariat for the celebrations. However, most of them could not account for proceeds of the souvenirs supplied to them. Some of them either blamed former Chief Executives for dominating the process or officials of the assemblies for not keeping proper account of receipts.