Marine Drive money spent on Kundum Festival was refunded – Afeku
Former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, has reacted to the Auditor General’s report saying the money spent on the Kundum festival in 2018, from funds meant for the Marine Drive Project, was refunded.
The report by the Auditor-General for the year ending December 31, 2020, said the ministry which the former minister was or spent some GHS400,000 meant for the Marine Drive project on the festival.
The report said Madam Catherine Afeku, and other government officials at the ministry for misapplying the state’s resources.
“In contravention of Section 7 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), we noted that funds meant for the Marine Drive project amounting to GH¢387,196.00 were misapplied for the celebration of AFRIMA, Kundum Festival, and other activities,” it stated.
An amount of GH¢73,000.00 was paid as additional expenditure or for the Minister’s trip to the Volta Region from 15th to 18th June 2018.
On 7th March 2018, GH¢13,296.00 was paid as an accountable imprest for the Minister at the time, Catherine Afeku, to travel to the Western Region on official assignment.
There was also a payment of an allowance for the opening panel for procurement of vehicle on 3rd May 2018 at the cost of GH¢ 900.00,” the report said.
The audit report also mentioned the release of GH¢100,000.00 to Palm Media Ghana Ltd. for the launch of AFRIMA 2018 on 17th-19th May 2018, and GH¢200,000 to support Kundum Festival from 1st – 9th September 2018.
The report, therefore, recommended that the Chief Director ensures a refund from the operations account into the Marine Drive project account, failing which the amount should be recovered from the Chief Director.
But the former minister reacting to the report said: “The Chief Director at that time used the provisions in the Public Financial Management Act, which is called virement [to make such expenditure]. As sector ministers, you know are not the spending officers, we just guide policy. So I had approval from cabinet for a certain line of expenditure. Festivals are time-bound so when it is getting closer and your approved allocation is not in, the Chief Directors have the mandate to do what they call virement and when the approved funding comes for the specific line item, you put these things back,” she said.
The former Tourism Minister said the Marine Drive Project fund was reimbursed before her departure from the ministry.
“There is no such thing as malfeasance or misappropriation,” she told Accra based Citi Fm.