wa, upper westThe Ghana Audit Service (GAS) has scored the Lawra District Assembly, in the Upper West Region, 68 per cent in the overall assessment by of its Capital Project Performance.

However, the Assembly scored 25 per cent in project benefits, 71 per cent in project execution, 75 per cent in procurement and contracting and 100 per cent in project initiation.

Nevertheless, the 68 per cent total score put the Assembly in first place, among the four districts assessed in the Upper West Region; and a second place tie with Atwima Nwabiagya District in the Ashanti Region in the overall Capital Project Assessment conducted in 50 selected districts nationwide.

The assessment programme, is under the Ghana’s Strengthening Accountability Mechanisms (GSAM), being implemented by CARE International Ghana, IBIS Foundation, and the Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC).

It is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

GSAM is a five-year project seeking to “Strengthen citizens’ oversight of capital development projects to improve Local Government Transparency, Accountability and Performance.”

Mr. Nurudeen Mohammed, a Communications specialist for the GSAM Project, during the presentation of the audit findings, stated that District Assemblies spent more than 70 per cent of their funds on capital projects.

However, he said, a lot of these projects were not adequately planned and implemented, resulting in ineffective use of public funds leaving citizens impoverished as a result.

The GSAM communication Specialist stated that citizens could ensure their assemblies did better if they got themselves adequately informed in order to demand accountability.

Mr Mohammed commended the Lawra District Assembly for showing strong performance in project planning and implementation, especially in the area of involving communities and other stakeholders to identify projects and in evaluating bids and awarding contracts.

He said the audit, however, revealed gaps in how the Assembly procured and engaged contractors, monitored and supervised the execution of projects and made payments to contractors.

In addition, the Assembly failed to conduct project completion evaluation.

Mr. Alfred Nii Okanta Ankrah, a Senior Auditor at GAS, said the audit revealed that the two projects at Eremon and Zambo, which cost GH?153,831.44 and GH?95,843.44 respectively, were overpaid by the Assembly.

He said the difference in the Eremon Project was GH?1,264.88 , while that of Zambo was GH?212.02.

Mr Ankrah recommended that the two contractors be surcharged to pay the monies back to the Assembly.

GAS also made some recommendations to help the Assembly improve on its Capital Project Performance.

They included the publishing of bid advertisements in at least two newspapers as required by the Public Procurement Manual.

The recommendations also asked the Assembly to ensure that all activities relating to the tendering processes were documented; while they conducted regular monitoring and supervision of projects with the record of this activity noted.

Additionally, it should ensure that all Payment Vouchers (PVs) were vetted by the Internal Audit Unit before payments were made and conduct detailed checks on the contractors’ valuation of work performed before PVs were raised and payment effected.

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