Drama unfolded at Wednesday’s public sitting of the Public Accounts Committee in Parliament, when Madam Mariama Yahya, a former director at the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection, suddenly appeared to contest the sector Minister’s submission involving her.
Nana Oye Lithur, the Minister, who was giving evidence before the Committee in respect of an anomaly in the 2013 Auditor-General’s report of the Ministry, became silent when Madam Yahya stormed the sitting uninvited, to challenge the evidence of the Minister.
The Auditor General in that report, detected that the outfit had failed to provide payment voucher documentation to cover an amount of GH14, 000 released to the Department of Children of the Ministry.
Responding, the Minister who had taken the oath before giving evidence, told the Committee that the Ministry had written to the former director requesting her assistance to address the issue but she had not yet responded.
No sooner had she given that information than Madam Yahya, arrive to challenge the Ministers’ claim.
Madam Yahya told the Committee that she was viewing the live telecast of the proceedings by Ghana Television and heard her name, so she decided to quickly rush to the sitting to defend her reputation.
The former Director told the Committee that she was forced out of her office by Nana Oye, who locked her office after interdicting her for no reason.
“I had travelled to Kumasi for an official assignment and when I returned the locks to my office had been changed and I was not allowed to enter the office again because the Minister said she had interdicted me”.
She said that the money in question was given to her to conduct interviews, which she did, adding that if she was granted access to her office, and if her documents had not been tampered with, she would be able to respond to the issue.
The former director said as far as the expenditure of the GHC14, 000 was concerned, she had all the receipts covering it locked up in the office and since she was not given the opportunity to enter the office again she could not provide those receipts to the auditors.
She told the committee that she was surprised at the directive of the Minister because she was not the one who appointed her.
“I was appointed by the President, in consultation with the Civil Service Council and the Public Services Commission, and the Minister wrongly interdicted me without giving me access to collect all my things from the office,” she said.
The Minister did not respond to that piece of evidence from the former director.
When Mr Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, the Chairman of the Committee and MP for Dormaa Central, asked the Minister when the former would be granted access to the office to retrieve those receipts covering the amount, the Minister said Madam Yahya could do so anytime from next week, possibly Monday.
As to the infraction by the Ministry, overspending its budget by GH1.7 million in 2012; and five payment vouchers amounting to GHC38, 057, which were without expenditure documentations, Nana Oye said, “There was an urgent need to construct an office for the Ministry and the Ministry of Finance provided releases for that purpose”.
She explained that lack of funds had forced the Ministry to neglect the projects, although huge sums had already been sunk into them.
The Ministry was also alleged to have failed to record a total amount of GHC140, 448, said to have been spent on fuel and lubricants in 2012.