A former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, says the GHS200, 000 drawn from the Marine Drive Project and spent on the Kundum festival in 2018, was refunded.
The Auditor-General, in a recent report, indicted the ministry for spending almost GHS400,000 meant for the Marine Drive project on the festival.
In an interview with Citi News‘ Nii Armah Ammah, Catherine Afeku said the money was used for the Kundum festival because of delayed budgetary allocation and time constraint.
She also said the cabinet at the time gave her the clearance to use the Marine Drive cash for the festival.
“The Chief Director at that time used the provisions in the Public Financial Management Act, which is called virement [to allow such expenditure]. As sector ministers, you know we are not the spending officers, we just guide policy. So I had approval from the 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 insisted.
The 2020 Auditor-General’s report indicted the former Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Catherine Afeku, and other government officials for misapplying state resources.
The audit report, which covered the period ended 31st December 2020, stated that an amount of GH¢ 387,196.00 meant for the Marine Drive Project was misapplied by the Ministry and rather spent on the celebration of the Kundum festival and other initiatives.
This was in contravention of Section 7 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921). The audit report also mentioned the release of GHS100,000.00 to Palm Media Ghana Ltd. for the launch of AFRIMA 2018 on 17th-19th May 2018.
On 7th March 2018, GH¢13,000.00 was paid as an accountable imprest for the Minister at the time, Catherine Afeku, to travel to the Western Region on official assignment.
An amount of GH¢73,000.00 was also paid as additional expenditure or for the Minister’s trip to the Volta Region from 15th to 18th June 2018.
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.
Axim: We know nothing about GHS200,000 spent on Kundum Festival – Planning Committee
The Planning Committee which organised the Kundum Festival specifically for the chiefs and people of the Upper and Lower Axim communities in the Western Region said it knows nothing about the GHS200,000 supposedly spent on the festival held in 2018.
A statement issued by the Upper and Lower Axim Kundum Planning Committee explained that the Ministry of Tourism headed by the then sector Minister, Catherine Afeku, donated only GHS7,000, towards the festival in 2018.
“During the 2018 Kundum Festival celebration, the Tourism, and Creative Arts Ministry officially and solely donated GHS7,000, to the Planning Committee to be distributed to Axim’s two traditional leaders (Upper and Lower),” a statement signed by the Chairman of the committee who doubles as the Nkosuohene of the Lower Axim Traditional Area in the Western Region, Nana Osei Nkwantabisa said.