The Director of Finance and Administration of the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), Michael Addo on Wednesday narrowly escaped the wrath of the Public Account Committee (PAC) of Parliament for failing to pay his outfit’s internally generated fund into government treasury for the year ended December 31, 2010.Michael Addo upon cross examination by the PAC led by Albert Kan-Dapaah (MP) was found wanting for financial indiscipline and was about to be sanctioned when the Controller & Accountant-General, R. K. Tuffour intervened and pleaded on his behalf that the action that he took was not deliberate.

“Are you aware that under the laws, you were obliged to pay into the consolidated account and that not making the payment amounted to financial indiscipline, according to the regulations?” the PAC chairman quizzed.

Michael Addo in a swift response answered in the affirmative but argued that it wasn’t deliberate.

The NACOB director had appeared before the PAC in the company of Sylvester Adu, an officer at his department to answer to a query on why he failed to pay monies generated internally by his outfit into the Consolidated Fund for the year ended December 31, 2010.

His query was one of many for state institutions whose internally generated funds accounts were audited by the Auditor-General for the 2010 fiscal year and which report was been considered by the PAC.

Mr. Addo in an answer to the query admitted not paying NACOB’s money generated internally into the Consolidated Fund but explained that it wasn’t deliberate since at that time, the account into which those monies were supposed to be paid into was dormant due to certain challenges his outfit encountered.

“We had a special account with the Bank of Ghana into which we were making direct payment. It happened that that source of income was not forthcoming; mainly it was properties that were seized from drug barons, couriers and monies that were seized but for some time, that source of income was not forthcoming and so that account became dormant and was finally closed,” he explained.

According to him, those challenges did not stop NACOB from pursuing other measures to generate revenue for the state and so in 2010 signed on to the international convention of controlling pre-cursor chemicals.

This activity, he noted generated some income but because NACOB’s account at the Bank of Ghana into which they pay their internally generated fund was closed, opened a new account at Ecobank into which all monies were paid into until they were directed and provided with a new account by the Controller & Accountant General.

However, his submission was not taken kindly by Mr. Kan-Dapaah who insisted that his failure to pay the money into the government treasury amounted to financial indiscipline which was punishable by law.

“Unfortunately, the law doesn’t make provision for explanations like this. You collected the money for and on behalf of the government. As a finance officer, you knew that money had to be paid into government account. You did not. You paid it into an account which you controlled and used it for some other purposes but that wasn’t your money and shouldn’t have used it,” argued the law maker who represents that Afigya Sekyere West Constituency in Legislature.

The NACOB director who was bent in convincing the minds of members of the PAC put up a strong defense insisting that the money lodged into an Ecobank account was later transferred into the Consolidated Fund in May, 2010 upon the advice of the Controller & Accountant General and that his action wasn’t deliberate.

But his argument was insistently rejected by Mr. Kan-Dapaah who argued that the axe must fall on him and whoever was responsible to serve as deterrent to others.

“Paying it after the auditors have told you constituted to the same offense. You did not do it at the time that you were supposed to do it. Therefore, we will bring this to the notice of your office Audit Report Implementation Committee drawing their attention to the regulations which demand that he who was responsible for this offense ought to be sanctioned. So, the sanctions are of importance to us because unless we sanction people, others will do it. Whey we sanction you this year, next year you will not do it again,” insisted the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee.

Prior to making his final pronouncement on the matter, Mr. Kan-Dapaah sought the guidance of the Controller & Accountant General.

Responding on the issue, Mr. Tuffour said the action taken by NACOB director wasn’t delibeConrate and therefore pleaded with the PAC to tamper mercy with justice.

The PAC Chairman in his final remarks took into consideration the plea of the Controller & Accountant General and cautioned Mr. Addo not to repeat the mistake that he has committed since he would not be spared the next time he does that again.

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