THE Wildfire Management Project has denied recent media reports that an audit had implicated them in various acts of financial misappropriation.
A statement signed by the acting Director of the project, Mr Edward Obiaw, and addressed to the Chief Executive of the Forestry Commission, said the management raised genuine challenges to most of the findings of the audit team because the team did not have the full grasp of the project accounting procedure.
The Insight newspaper began a series of publications recently on the alleged implicating audit report, which was picked up by some radio stations.
The Wildfire Management Project, with headquarters in Kumasi, was mandated to initiate policies and programmes to protect some of the country’s forests from fire.
In July 2006, the internal audit teams from the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, and the Forestry Commission carried out audit of the project, out of which a number of issues were raised.
“Management challenged most of the findings because at the time, the audit team did not understand the project accounting procedure including the demands of the donors and accordingly submitted responses to straighten up the records,” the statement from the project management said.
It added, “It is of interest to note that since the 2006 internal audit, the project has gone through two external audits and another internal audit.”
In some of their responses to the observations from the audit team, the management said it was not true that they wrote two cheques with the same amount and that there was no indication that either of the cheques was cancelled.
The management explained that the amounts stated on the cheques as mentioned by the auditors were incorrect.
In another observation, the auditors said, “In another instance, cheque number 175218 for an amount of ¢192,950,000 was drawn on the 16th of July on PV No. 4129 for the payment of some goods.”
They continued that “the photocopy of the same document with the same value of ¢192,950,000 was again used in addition to others to process another payment voucher that amounted to ¢347,799,800 and drawn with cheque number 277583 on December 23, 2005”.
However in their response, the management said the figure ¢192,950,000 was incorrect and that the correct amount on the stated cheque was ¢178,478,750.
They went further that the cheque number 175218, with the value of ¢178,487,750, was issued to Oo-Yebo Enterprise Limited on July 16, 2004 for the payment, implementation and evaluation of media and public education while the cheque number 277583 for the amount of ¢347,799,800 was issued to Dutchtech Limited on December 23, 2005 for the payment for the establishment of Green firebreaks in the Asubima and Opro Forest Reserves in the Ashanti Region.
In all the management responded to all the 10 observations mentioned in the audit report, which they believed were enough evidence to underline the effective manner they handled affairs at the project.