John Kumah’s claim on total infractions in Auditor-General’s report false

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The Deputy Minister of Finance, John Kumah, has suggested that the total irregularities recorded in the 2021 Auditor-General’s report have dropped.

Mr. 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.

The deputy minister made this claim 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.”

Verdict: False

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 from 2017 to 2018 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 2018 onwards, the total amounts from the financial irregularities have increased. In the year John Kumah claimed the figure dropped significantly, there was actually a 38% rise.

Here is a tabular presentation 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 the previous year

        + means percentage increase from the 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.

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