A member of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament, Hon Muhammah Bawah Braimah has called on the Attorney General to prosecute storekeepers and other officers responsible for the missing 4,659 bags of fertilizers at the Agric Directorates of the Sunyani Municipal and the Dorma District Assemblies respectively.
According to him, a total of 4,659 bags of fertilizers worth GHS297, 384.00 mean for farmers under the government flagship program, “Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ)” have gone missing from stores of the two institutions in the Bono region as captured by the 2019 Auditor General Report.
At the Sunyani Municipal Assembly Agric-Directorate, a total of 4,142 bags of fertilizer worth GHS268, 809.00, while a quantity of 517 bags of fertilizer worth GHS28, 575.00, were reported stolen respectively.
He said Section 52 of the Public Financial Management Act 921 (Act 2016) requires that “a Principal spending officer shall maintain adequate records of Government stores and is discharged of accountability when the stores have been consumed in the course of public business and records are available to show that the stores have been consumed.”
But the auditor general’s annual report on the public accounts of Ghana, Ministries Departments and Other Agencies (MDAs) for the year ended 31 December 2019, on the store records of the two institutions within the Ministry of Food and Agriculture revealed that a total of 4,659 bags of fertilizers (NPK, Urea and SOA) were declared missing.
Officials of the Assemblies have appeared before the Public Accounts Committee and promised a full-scale investigation into the matter.
Hon Bawah said, though the Municipal Agriculture Directorate of Sunyani claimed that the missing bags of fertilizers had been reported to the police and investigations were ongoing, the storekeepers of the two institutions and any other officer responsible should be surcharged and prosecuted.
In his view, the over 4000 bags of fertilizer could not have been carried away by one person, stressing that, “that quantity of fertilizer needs at least five big trucks or articulators to cart them away and I believed there are more ‘big men’ behind it.
“In fact, the storekeepers couldn’t have mastered the courage to empty the stores without the knowledge of a superior authority, the Minister could also be held responsible, “ he added.
Hon Bawah told EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, that prices of government-subsidized fertilizers meant to support peasant farmers under the Planting for Food and Jobs [PFJ] Program have increased astrometrically, much to the dissatisfaction of farmers as a bag of fertilizer now cost GHS400.00 or more depending on the type.
Despite the high price, he said the fertilizer is also not available because the government has failed or refused to pay the suppliers whereas other government officials also hoard some for private gains.
The prices of improved seeds under the program have also been increased.
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