For Immediate Release
CREATE, LOOT, SHARE AND DISRESPECT FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT LAWS CAUSES OBUASI MUNICIPAL ASSEMBLY TO GO BANKRUPT
It is shocking and amazing how a onetime highest revenue generation community in Ashanti region can suddenly go bankrupt. We the citizens of Obuasi have been very tolerant and law abiding to the Obuasi Municipal Assembly all these years, by paying our taxes even as business is bad, but we have been taken for granted and that is gradually bringing shame to Obuasi. It is time we speak and draw the attention of the authorities who matter, be it the ministry of local government and ministry of finance to an extreme His Excellency the President John Dramani Mahama.
We are drawing the attention of the Media who are the mouth piece of the people and the voice of the voiceless to help address this shameful act which has hit the Obuasi Municipal Assembly from 2012 to date.
It is highly acknowledged that Anglo Gold Ashanti, a major contributor to the assembly has dwindled nonetheless taxes from trading activities, property rates; licenses etc in the municipality still keep the bank accounts of the assembly going which is IGF, not to mention District assembly common funds, Donor funds and subventions from government.
We have in our possession minutes of the 2nd General assembly meeting of the first session of the sixth assembly of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly held on Tuesday 22nd December 2015 at the Assembly hall, Obuasi.
First and foremost, In reference to the minutes, item 6.4 – Finance and Administration (a) Debt cancellation.
I quote “The executive committee had proposed that some debtors of the assembly could not be traced and therefore, needed the approval of the General house to delete such list from the records books. The house agreed with the executive committee and added that those individuals who could be identified, the finance officer should do so to retrieve the money whiles the unidentified ones be deleted. The house advised that members and staff should honour their commitment when the Assembly assists them financially.”
How come debtors of the assembly cannot be identified if they are members or led by members? What is the amount involved and on what bases is the debt cancellation. This is an illegality and complete violation of Section 35 subsection (1) and (2) of the local government act 462, which even gives the assembly the right to write off irrevocable arrears of revenue which is less than ȼ100,000.00 which is GHȼ10 and the assembly shall inform the minister in writing of the total sum written off and the reason for doing so. In this case the debt in question is not revenue collection but the assembly’s money giving out to persons as a loan. Our Taxes are being wasted.
Secondly, in reference to the minutes, item 6.3 – (b) Delayed projects, MCE’S Bungalow
On about undue delay of the MCE’s bungalow especially the overpayment made to the contractor. Hon. Members agreed that the assembly should report the issue to EOCO whiles management the state of the MCE’s Bungalow which was started in 2007 is still hanging in the balance, on April 4th and 5th 2012, minutes of the 4th General meeting of the first session of the Obuasi Municipal assembly, item 8.4 – “when the house wanted to know the status of the MCE bungalow, he informed the house that work was on progress earnestly, since the contractor was putting finishing touches on the project” In 2015 minutes “the house unanimously expressed displeasure ensuring that work on the block goes on”.
We are very shocked again, Overpayment made to the contractor is complete waste of tax payers money and a project at the finishing stages in 2012 ought to have been completed 4 years down the line in any serious setting., Where is the contractor M/E Ellokol Ltd? The decision to re award the contract is a recipe for judgment debt to stair us in the face when the current contractor cannot be found. We want update on the current contractor; the money paid him so far and the amount of over payment that was done as accepted by the hon. Members? It is complete disregard for the laws of Ghana and a waste of our hard earned money as citizens of Obuasi. Our money is being wasted on stalled projects.
Also, In reference to the minutes under review, item 5.4 – walling of CKC SHS and Obuasi SHS/Technical.
I quote “The project which is the block fence wall should be re-awarded since they have been unduly delayed”
This is contrary to the assembly document page 18 of 2015 composite budget, table 5 of summary of commitments and completed/ongoing projects in march 2015, it was captured that works on the Obuasi SHS fencing has been completed and that of the CKC SHS at 40%. We are also reliably informed that even the said project has been funded with royalties Anglo Gold Ashanti paid to the Assembly in 2014, contrary to page 27 of 2015 composite budget table 10 under justification of projects and programmes and corresponding costs, where it was captured that it will be funded with the District Assembly Common Fund. What is the need to re award a completed project? What is the need to budget for an already funded project? What has happened to the contractor M/S Barima Company ltd.? Our conclusion is one, an attempt to create, loot and share.
Lastly, No money in assembly coffers to pay allowances at assembly meetings. We know there is the establishment of an internal auditor according to the Local government act 462 and section 120 of the act subsections 3 and 5 clearly instructs the internal auditor within the interval of three (3) months prepare internal audits and send copy in writing to the MCE and the RCC. If this was done why did the assembly not know that there was no money in the Assembly coffers but go ahead to organize a meeting where allowances will be demanded?
The Obuasi municipal assembly disgraced itself on the 14th of March 2016, when after an assembly meeting, Hon. Members refused to go home because sitting allowances due them had not been paid, thus GHȼ40 each. It was also revealed that assembly members are paid GHȼ 150.00 every month and has been in arrears for three (3) months, a violation of Section 157 of the Local government Act 462, specified under part 19 of the District Assembly standing orders which clarifies the payment of allowances, which specifies attendance to meetings of the assembly which is transport expenses by members and even excludes government appointees who are paid by government unless the person certifies that he is not drawing any allowance from government.
This embarrassment caused the Coordinating director and Finance officer to engage the Member of Parliament for Obuasi East constituency, Hon. Edward Ennin, who was also present for his allowance, to authorize the release of the common fund for Obuasi East constituency as a loan to the Assembly to enable them pay sitting allowances for Hon. Members, which the Obuasi East MP gladly did and withdrew an amount of not less than GHȼ 25,000.00 from a bank whose name be withheld for now, to pay 51 Assembly members. Hon. Member of parliament for Obuasi East confirmed these happenings on a radio station, O FM in Obuasi during their regular morning show on 29th March 2016.
The Obuasi Municipal assembly is so bankrupt they had to borrow MP’s common fund to pay sitting allowances which is clear violation of the Finance and Administration act and Section 88 of the Local government act 462, which gives the Assembly the power to borrow, which states that the amount being borrowed either a loan or overdraft should not exceed ȼ20,000,000.00 which is GHȼ2000.00 today, and even with such borrowing there should be consultation with the minister of local government and minister of finance and the loan or overdraft should not require a guarantee by the central government.
We the citizens of Obuasi are not surprised at all these gross misconduct and misappropriation is happening under the watch of our disabled MCE Mr. Agyeman Boadi, who some years passed displayed total gross misconduct at his former place of work, Shaft fm against the ethics of radio and was sacked.
We the concerned citizens of Obuasi through the media is making a call on the Minister of Local government and the Minister of finance as a matter of urgency carry out a swift investigation into the Finances of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly and the immediate sack of the Obuasi MCE Mr. Richard Agyeman Boadi and the Municipal Finance officer.
Should any of these fail, the citizens of Obuasi will advice themselves.
Chairman – Progressive Movement for Change