Ghana: GHS Calls for Forensic Probe Into Conduct of Internal Audit Director

27 January 2020

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has called for a forensic probe into the conduct of the Director, Internal Audit Division of the GHS, Mr Kwabena Hemeng-Ntiamoah, who is alleged to have misappropriated millions of cedis meant for audit assignments.

A document sighted by the Ghanaian Times suggested that the forensic request was made to the Auditor General last Friday, January 17, by the Acting Director General of GHS, Dr Patrick Kuma Aboagye.

This follows a publication of the matter by the Ghanaian Times.

When contacted, Dr Aboagye confirmed a letter came from his office, explaining that the GHS was determined to put finality to the case.

"We requested for an independent audit based on the recommendation of a Fact-finding Committee the GHS put together to look into the matter," Dr Aboagye said.

He, however, said the quantum of monies that may have been allegedly misappropriated would not be up to millions of cedis.

Dr Aboagye stressed that resources for the Global Fund (HIV/AIDS, Malaria &Tuberculosis), and Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition Improvement Project (MCHNP) have not been misappropriated.

According to the forensic audit request document signed by Dr Aboagye, the GHS on August 13, 2019, received complaints from four officers of the Internal Audit Division of the GHS about the conduct of the Director of the Internal Audit.

He indicated that "In line with our code of conduct and disciplinary procedures, a Fact-finding Committee was set up to look into the matter."

Among the recommendation of the committee is that management should conduct a forensic audit to ascertain the quantum of money involved in the allegations.

The GHS, thus, has requested the Auditor-General to conduct a forensic audit to "determine the exact amount of money involved in all the entire internal audit activities in the MCHNP and Global Fund Programmes for the period 2016 to date."

The Auditor-General was also implored to "determine any portion of the above that has been misappropriated as alleged; make recommendations on the retrieval of the funds, make recommendations for the strengthening of the internal controls as well as make recommendations for the strengthening of the Internal Audit Division."

"I will be very happy if the exercise would be carried out within two weeks and before the end of January 2020 to expedite management's action on this matter," the document added.

Meanwhile, inside sources at the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) on Wednesday told the Ghanaian Times that the Auditor-General's Department had set up a two-man team to begin investigations into the matter as requested by concerned staff of the GHS.

Last week, Mr Hemeng-Ntiamoah was 'dragged' to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) by concerned staff.

They also on Tuesday, January 14, referred the case to the Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), the Auditor General (AG) and the Minister of Health, to carry out investigation into the allegations.

The concerned staff: Messrs Victor Atsu (Chief Internal Auditor) and Charles Aryee (Deputy Chief Internal Auditor) wanted Mr Hemeng-Ntiamoah to be investigated for "alleged malfeasance and gross abuse of office."

It is recalled that the Ghanaian Times in its investigative story on Monday, January 13, published that Mr Hemeng-Ntiamoah allegedly pocketed monies meant for audit assignments since January 2016, to August 2019, through a number of schemes running into millions.

Mr Hemeng-Ntiamoah was alleged to have misconducted himself variously by combining two programme audits (Global Fund and MCHNP), to a team for the regions - but paid for only one programme audit and kept the other for himself.

The alleged culprit denied having misappropriated any of such funds.

"I know I have done my work conscientiously over the years and it is sad things have to turn this way.

"However, I'm ever prepared to give back any missing monies if I'm found culpable," Mr Hemeng-Ntiamoah, who has since resigned, told the Ghanaian Times last week.

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