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Thursday, 23 July 2009

Dr Duffuor Denies Directing Donor Inflows Through his Bank

The Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Dr Kwabena Duffuor has expressed shock at a media report imputing acts of impropriety on him.

The Independent newspaper in its Thursday, May 28th, 2009 edition, reported on its front page that the Finance Minister has suggested to some “donor partners that, donor inflows to the country must be channelled through his bank, Unibank”.A statement by his Media Liaison, Abdul Hakim Ahmed, said Dr Duffuor has stated categorically, "that it is not true that he has ever made a suggestion or even contemplated making a suggestion for donors to channel their assistance through the Unibank or any other private bank. In fact it is not a convention anywhere that anybody can take such a decision."

The statement also said it is again not true that the issue has been discussed anywhere in government as speculated by the newspaper, "much less bringing the Minister and President on collision course as the newspaper reported. In any case, GoG does not have an account with the Unibank and does not intend to have one.""It must be put on record that cash transfers from donors to GoG are done through the Central Bank, and when he was even the Governor of the Central Bank and in control of all government’s accounts, the Finance Minister did not do such a thing. So it is unthinkable that he will do that in this different position.

"For the sake of the general public, the Ministry would like to explain below the process that loans and grants go through before disbursement by government or the beneficiary Ministry, Department or Agency (MDA)."When the Ministry and a donor, for example the World Bank, have negotiated and reached an agreement on the amount, the interest rate etc, for a facility, the document is sent to Office of the President for Cabinet approval, after which it is sent to Parliament for parliamentary approval as required by the Constitution. Then after these approvals the agreement is signed or executed by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

"After this, the documents are sent to the Attorney General’s Department for final legal opinion. The A-G’s department is required under our laws to certify that all due process had been adhered to. They will then issue a letter giving the government the go ahead, without this letter the loan or grant will not be effective i.e. the World Bank would not release the money for government to use. A copy of this letter is therefore sent to the World Bank Office."If the money is a grant, the account to hold the funds is at the Bank of Ghana (BOG). If it is for budget support it goes straight to the consolidated fund at the Bank of Ghana. However, if it is a credit for a programme or project the money is lodged in a commercial bank selected by the beneficiary MDA and approved by MOFEP. The process is as follows;

"After obtaining the A-G’s legal opinion, MOFEP through the Controller and Accountant General then directs the Bank of Ghana to open an account in a commercial bank for the disbursement of the facility. The Ministry would before this ensure that the beneficiary entity has a qualified accountant and adequate staff to manage the project.

"It is important to note that the full amount is not paid into the account; only an agreed percentage is paid into the account and is replenished upon submission of statement of account and statement of expenditure on all eligible expenditures showing Government and the World Bank how the money has been used. It would only be replenished when the World Bank is satisfied that the money was used for the purpose for which it was obtained."


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