Abandoned and delayed projects cost Ghana GHS35.4 million in 2020 according to an audit report released by the Auditor-General on the use of the District Assemblies Common Fund (DACF).
The figure forms part of contract irregularities committed by various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) totalling GHS45.69 million.
Despite these gaps, the Auditor-General’s department noted that MMDAs still awarded fresh projects when earlier ones had not been completed.
This led to a suspension of work because of non-payment of work certificates.
For example, the North Gonja District Assembly spent GHS370,270.24 on four projects awarded in 2016 but have been abandoned at various stages of completion.
The Sefwi Akontombra District assembly awarded the construction of a Police Station at Akontombra worth GHS256,541.01, out of which GHS237,051.37 had been paid to the contractor.
The project was scheduled to be completed on June 10, 2016, but had been abandoned for 49 months due to a purported lack of funds.
There were also instances where local assemblies had completed projects that were not put to use “as a result of non-availability of water and electricity connection, defects and lack of furnishing or siting of projects beyond easy access of the communities.”
This cost Ghana GHS8.6 million.
In the Wassa Amenfi East Municipal, for instance, GHS214,352 was spent to construct a Police Post at Nkonya in 2017, but the facility is currently not in use.
“We further noted that payments were made for unexecuted contracts, unjustified contingencies and shoddy works,” the report also noted.
As part of the recommendation, the Auditor-General’s department advised the local assemblies to prioritise ongoing projects for completion before the commencement of new ones.
It also recommended that defects on the completed projects should be fixed and provide the ancillary facilities needed, so such facilities could be put to use for the avoidance of additional costs resulting from deterioration.
“We further recommended recovery for payments for unexecuted contracts, unjustified contingencies from the Chief Executives, Coordinating Directors, Finance Officers and Works Engineers,” the report added.
Overall, deficiencies noted in the operations of the Assemblies created avenues for some officials to mismanage funds and resources of the Assemblies to a financial value of approximately GHS77.14 million.
Aside from contract, procurement, the deficiencies were identified in transactions under account areas such as cash management and tax irregularities.
Like in previous reports, the Auditor-General’s department also recommended punitive actions against the management and staff of local assemblies who mismanaged the resources brought under their care.