About a week ago, the Deputy Minister of Finance, John Kumah, suggested that the total irregularities recorded in the 2021 Auditor-General’s report have dropped.
John Kumah said he was of the belief that much could be done to reduce the irregularities if reports on the recoveries made during the successive reports were published.
Mr Kumah made this claim on August 31, 2022, on his Facebook page while commenting on the latest report by the Auditor-General. The report cited the total financial irregularities as GHS 17 billion.
Fact-Check Ghana has verified the deputy minister’s claim and concludes that it is false.
Claim: “Despite the fact that the 2021 Auditor-General’s report shows that total irregularities have dropped significantly as compared to previous years. I believe that this figure can be taken down further if we report on recovery’s(sic)…Despite the numerous leakages and infractions that still exist, the progress made in reducing the total irregularities is worth mentioning.”
Explanation: The deputy minister’s claim that the “2021 Auditor-General’s report shows that total irregularities have dropped significantly as compared to previous years” cannot be true because the amounts recorded over the years have rather gone up. And this did not happen only with the 2021 report.
In the last five years, the total amount of irregularities has increased. It was only in 2018 that the figure decreased significantly. It is not clear why the reduction was recorded but the 2017 report was in respect of 2016, which was an election year. And election years are noted for profligate spending and high irregularities.
From then onwards, the total amount of irregularities has increased. In the year John Kumah claimed the figure dropped significantly, there was actually a 38% rise.
Here is a tabular representation of the total irregularities for the past 6 years.
|Year||Total Irregularity (GHS)||Percentage change (%)|
|2016||718 m||142 (+)|
|2017||12 bn||1572 (+)|
|2018||3 bn||75 (-)|
|2019||5.5 bn||81.8 (+)|
|2020||12.8 bn||135 (+)|
|2021||17.4 bn||38 (+)|
Key: – means percentage decrease from previous year
+ means percentage increase from previous year
Source: Auditor-General’s report
It is evident from the table above that the deputy minister’s claim of a reduction in total irregularities is false.