The Rector of the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), Wilberforce Dzisah, was on Tuesday grilled during the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) sitting over additional salary of $69,588 (GH¢110,877) for himself, the vice rector, the registrar and the accountant of the Institute from 2012 to 2014.
Within the period under review, the Auditor-General in its 2015 report, found out that the rector was being paid $1,000 a month in addition to his monthly salary, the vice rector was receiving $600 and the registrar and the accountant collecting $333 each in addition to their salaries on manual voucher, in blatant breach of Regulation 295 of the Financial Administration Regulation (FAR), which states that when a public servant’s personal emolument is payable on the Controller and Accountant-General’s (C & AG’s) mechanized payroll or department’s payroll, payment by manual voucher is prohibited, except as approved by the C & AG.
The rector said the approval was given by the Governing Council of the Institute, and the Minister of Finance also sanctioned the payment to reflect the new status of the Institute – which is now at par with the universities and now comes under the direct supervision of the Ministry of Education instead of the Ministry of Information.
The Minister of Education, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh, who was at the committee sitting with the management of GIJ, made it known that if the rector was making allusion to the Governing Council for the subsequent approval, then he (rector) might be wrong since the Governing Council was dissolved and yet to be reconstituted.
The minister explained that President Akufo-Addo had proposed names of those to constitute the new Council to the Council of State for approval and soon it would be outdoored and inaugurated.
According to Dr Opoku Prempeh, the Governing Council could not have given the approval since it is still not in place; but the rector said that approval was given by the previous Council which was consequently sanctioned by the Ministry of Finance.
The management of GIJ was also faulted by the Auditor-General for giving the current accountant, Mathias Dugu, several allowances, including professional allowances, responsibility allowance, acting allowance, rent allowance, entertainment allowance, off campus allowance and head of department allowance – amounting to GH¢170,810 – even though he is not a chartered accountant to merit these benefits.
The institute could not also provide report on details of contracts awarded by the management in the period under review.
These contracts are the construction of one to four-unit lecture hall, construction of new urinal, refurbishment of existing classrooms as well as an old urinal.
There was also an issue of one-month unearned salary of GH¢4,454.71 paid to a staff member who had gone on retirement; but the explanation of the management was that an amount of GH¢2,500 had been recovered from that unearned salary and assured that the remaining amount would be recovered for the government.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr