NHIA Acts to Check Financial Leakages
The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) has commenced an internal audit to uncover and deal with any acts of financial malfeasance by its district offices across the nation.
It has already covered the Asawase Office of National Insurance Scheme (NHIS), where it was found that its budget of GH¢191,380.00, for last year, was without authorization exceeded by GH¢122,115.00.
The accountant has been asked to explain.
A copy of the audit report obtained by the Ghana News Agency (GNA) cites falsified records and lack of enforcement of internal controls.
It makes reference to an instance where an amount of GH¢34,322.00 was reported to have been spent on community broadcast, when there was not any such broadcast.
Revenue of GH¢11,457.00 from the use of control receipt numbers to register clients in the membership application was also unaccounted for.
Added to these was a GH¢1,948.00 per diem payment to the management for official meetings at the Regional Office even though the meetings did not extend overnight.
According to the report the District Office went beyond its budget line for publicity and communication by 603 per cent, something that could not be done without approval by the NHIA Executive Management.
The accountant in response to the query stated that the budget overrun occurred because the district operated on a proposed budget between January and August, 2017.
He went on to explain that the approved budget for the year was only communicated to the office on August 23.
“Since the office was operating on a proposed budget, as of the time the approved budget was communicated, we had already over spent on the approved budget”.
He added that most of the operational activities to meet the budget on membership and revenue were undertaken prior to receiving the approved budget.
“Without those activities, membership of the scheme in the district would have been adversely affected”.
Again, “there was no way the office could have sought authorisation for a supplementary budget in the absence of an approved budget”.
The accountant disagreed with the audit report that the office falsified records, regarding the community broadcasts, insisting that “the auditors failed to contact the former District Manager to ascertain the truth”.
“That, one of the core mandate for every accountant is to ensure that, payment vouchers are retired with official receipts or documents but not to immediately do forensic audit on any receipt or documents submitted to retire a payment voucher”.
He pointed out that all the documents submitted by the manager for the said community broadcast were attached to the payment vouchers during the period of the audit.
He also refuted the assertion that he failed to enforce internal controls.
On the per diem payment, the accountant said although the meetings ended before or at 1700 hours, some exceptional circumstances called for the payment of out of station allowance.
“Moreover, when the regional monitoring team visited the office, we were told not to be discretional on the exceptional circumstances but be guided and since August 2017, such payments have not been repeated.”