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GH¢387,196 Marine Drive Project cash ‘misused’ on AFRIMA, Kundum Festival – Audit report

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A former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, under the Akufo-Addo administration, Catherine Afeku, and other government officials at the ministry have been cited by the Auditor-General’s report for misapplying state resources.

The Auditor-General’s report for the period ended 31 December 2020, states that an amount of GH¢387,196.00 meant for the Marine Drive project was misapplied.

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“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 states.

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.

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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 Wester 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.

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The audit report also mentions the release of GH¢100,000.00 to Palm Media Ghana Ltd. for the launch of AFRIMA 2018 on 17th-19th May 2018, and 200,000 for the release of funds to support Kundum Festival from 1st – 9th September 2018.

It has, 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.

Also, the report noted that some officials, including Catherine Afeku failed to hand over official vehicles of the Ministry when they left the ministry.

“In contravention of Section 52 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), we noted from our inspection of the Ministry’s vehicles that five official vehicles were in the possession of three former officials who separated from the Ministry through reassignment and terminations.

Again, the report has recommended that the Chief Director ensures the recovery of the vehicles from the above-named individuals. We further recommended that the use of the vehicles by the individuals should attract rental charges at the current rental rate for the period during which the vehicles have been in their possession.

About the Marine Drive Project

The Marine Drive Tourism Project is the single largest tourism investment project to be initiated by the government of Ghana since Independence.

The 241-acre prime beachfront tourism enclave project is envisaged to position Ghana as the most sought after tourist destination and the destination of choice within the West African sub-region, as well as provide job opportunities for many young people in Ghana within the hospitality industry.

The project is basically to plan and develop the entire parcel of land, stretching from the Osu Klottey Lagoon (behind the Christianborg Castle) to the Accra Community Centre, covering an area of 241 acres and
Re-zone a stretch of land into a Tourism Enclave.

The core development objectives of the project are to decongest the city centre of non-conforming uses and re-instate a new land use structure befitting the capital city, intensify the use of land to be consistent with the high values of land, and also counteract the apparent scarcity of land in Accra, and create an environment to attract high levels of tourism-related investment in the city centre.

Others are to promote investment in tourism and tourism-related facilities, create jobs and income opportunities, particularly in the local communities, create revenue streams for Chiefs and People of Osu and Ga Traditional Councils and Tackle waste and sewerage challenges along the coast.

Ghana hosted AFRIMA in 2018

The ‘All Africa Music Awards’ (also referred to as AFRIMA) is an annual awards event. The awards’ event was established by the International Committee AFRIMA, in collaboration with the African Union (AU) to reward and celebrate musical works, talents and creativity around the African continent while promoting the African cultural heritage. Its pioneer Awards show was held in 2014.

In 2018, the awards’ festival was hosted by Ghana under the auspices of the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture.

The scheme could not be hosted in Ghana for three consecutive years as earlier announced due to lack of the capacity to meet the financial and contractual obligations entered on July 12, 2018.

The government of Ghana had earlier announced that it was going to support the scheme with $4.5 million for the proposed three-year period.

It is however unknown how much was spent on the first edition, which was held in Accra between November 21 and November 24, 2018.

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