Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who is mired in a Covid-19 Scandal has said the amount of money flagged by Auditors is a “small compensation” compared to the huge risk his outfit faced in the pandemic.
The Minister who has abandoned government communications in the wake of the Domestic Debt Exchange Program authorized an audit response to the allaged COVID-19 “Chop Chop” in December 2022.
The Auditor General’s Report said the Oppong Nkrumah—led ministry allegedly squandered some Ghc151,500 as Covid allowances.
Portions of the Auditor General’s report said the Management of the Information Ministry and its support staff who are not health workers paid themselves an amount of Ghc151,500 as risk allowance for going to work in the wake of COVID-19.
The Auditor General believes these monies need to be refunded by the Management and staff of the Information Ministry who were beneficiaries.
But Oppong Nkrumah’s ministry claims the amount is only a “small compensation”.
“The fear of contracting the virus became a demotivating factor for officers to continue to give off their best under the circumstances. As you are aware, the ministry is in the business of providing relevant and timely information to save lives and as a result, we needed to motivate officers by way of small compensation for the risk they faced in working during the period of the pandemic,” the ministry’s response dated 14 December 2022 to the external auditors said.
“It would also be recalled that during the lockdown period, most staff of MDAS were made to sit at home as a way of curbing the spread of the disease whilst staff of the Ministry of Information were required to come to work by virtue of the special assignment given to the ministry by the President when he directed that the Ministry of Information should be the lead in risk communication and community engagement.
“Additionally, the ministry set up a 24-hour information desk at the digital centre, close to the Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra where the general public was given an opportunity to call in and report COVID- 19 related cases and also seek information in respect of the prevention and management of COVID-19 cases,” the memo continued.
“The centre also served as a link between critically ill COVID-19 patients and the ambulance service for quick pick-ups. Management needed to whip up the interest of the desk officers and the supervisors to ensure that the centre continues to provide services to the public 24 hours of the day,” the memo concluded.