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PAC questions use of $2.8m on rent by Foreign Affairs ministry

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has faulted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration for spending $2.8 million and €1.79 million for the payment of rent for home-based staff of 21 missions.

The Auditor General in its 2020 report described the payment of these rents as uneconomic and recommended the use of mortgage systems to curtail the situation.

But appearing before the committee, the Deputy Minister for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, said the proposed mortgage system of accommodation for missions has been a challenge.

He said the government’s policy is to acquire properties for all its missions abroad but securing finance has been a major challenge to the Ministry.

“The government’s policy is to acquire properties for the missions, residency and chancery but the reality on the ground is that it is not easy for Foreign Missions to get mortgages in these foreign countries. So far we haven’t succeeded. We are exploring a whole range of avenues to try and raise the needed funds.

“We have made some progress, and we are hopeful that we will get there.”

The Committee also raised concerns about the Ministry’s payment of GH₵7.9 million for a project which cost GH₵1.4 million to start in 2007.

The project according to the Ministry was abandoned by the contractor in 2008 but had the contract reviewed in 2017 to GH₵7.9 million despite the initial payment of about 90 percent of the amount.

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