Auditor-General’s report didn’t indict us – CWSA
The Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) of Ghana has described as inaccurate the Auditor-General’s reports that funds granted for free water during the COVID-19 pandemic were misappropriated.
During the height of the novel dreaded coronavirus disease, the government gave free water from April to December 2020 to cushion Ghanaians.
To settle the cost of water for 2020 and 2021, some non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and private water providers were paid GH22,819,862.42.
In his Covid-19 report, the Auditor-General raised concerns about the payment of GH37,609,791.71 as the cost of free water supplied by NGOs and private water providers.
The aforementioned payment leaves an amount of 14,789,929.29 to be cleared.
In response to the A-G report, the CWSA emphasised that the agency had exercised due diligence in their approach to determining payments to their various providers.
“Based on the auditor’s report, CWSA has not been implicated in any way and due diligence was observed prior to the implementation of the President’s directive. This was in the form of the Chief Executive’s directive for the implementation of the directive,” CWSA said in a statement.
Furthermore, the CWSA said its Chief Executive has shown his commitment to due process and did not yield to pressure from service providers to pay for unvalidated claims.
The statement added, “he maintained the agency’s stance on validating all submitted data and claim to service providers.”
Read the full statement
CWSA’s IMPLEMENTATION OF FREE WATER (PAYMENT OF FREE WATER FUNDS TO WATER SERVICE PROVIDERS)
On 5th April 2020, the President of the Republic, H.E Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, issued a directive to all water service providers for the provision of free water to the Ghanaian population during the COVID-19 Emergency Response period. The Honorable Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources directed the Management of the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA) to issue guidelines for implementation of free water with respect to pipe water systems managed by Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Private Sector Water Providers. These are non CWSA managed water systems.
To get value for money and protect the public purse, CWSA developed guidelines and template for the implementation of free water for the period April 2020 to June 2021. CWSA developed detailed processes for pipe water systems managed by Water and Sanitation Management Teams (WSMTs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and the Private Sector Water Providers. The following processes were outlined for the implementation:
Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) were tasked to communicate the guidelines to all water service providers within their jurisdiction and direct them to implement the free water for domestic use within the period.
Actual bills were to be submitted by the water service providers to CWSA Regional Offices through the MMDAs for vetting and submission to the Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources for further action.
The WSMTs, NGOs and Private Sector water providers were to submit their respective water production and consumption records, expenditure on power consumption, fuel and transportation, remuneration of staff and vendors’ commission for the period to the CWSA Regional Office, through the MMDAs.
MMDAs were tasked to collate and submit a list of all water systems managed by water service providers and corresponding data based on the detailed requirements in the guidelines to CWSA Regional Offices for validation.
CWSA regional office validated the list based on the required guidelines as stated in point 3 for accuracy and validity of the records provided on the operations of the water systems.
All payments to service providers were made through Bank Accounts provided by the MMDAs who are expected to disburse to respective service providers.
A total amount of GHS 22,819,862.42 has been transferred to the MMDAs for disbursement to service providers.
DETAILS OF PAYMENT
CWSA constituted a national team to vet all the validated data from the regions before submission to Ministry of Sanitation and Water Resources for payment. The team vetted the data on regional basis to ensure the regional data was in conformity with the required guidelines before payment.
The committee took note of the following challenges
Inconsistencies in the format presented
Some collated bills especially for the Limited Mechanized Water Supply Schemes, were based on expenditures other than water consumed Unit rates per meter cube of water consumed also varied across systems
Delayed submission of bills from water providers.Data not provided in accordance with guidelines.
Inaccurate water consumption data.
Unpaid huge electricity bills before the Free Water period were submitted as part of cost of current free water.
Inclusion of capital cost expenditure.
Non-submission of bills by some communities and providers.
Communities that had broken down water systems also submitted bills for free water.
Some water service providers sold the water to communities and yet submitted bills.
The Report of the Audit of the Government of Ghana COVID-19 expenditure for the period March 2020 to June 2022 did not incriminate the CWSA in all its recommendations (pg. 63 – 68).
With reference to point 255 of the Report of the Audit of the Government of Ghana COVID-19 expenditure for the period March 2020 to June 2022 (we recommended that the outstanding amount of GHS 14,000,000.00 should be paid based on actual bills and not estimated bills. We also recommended, management should develop suitable method or approach where the actual water consumption could be ascertained),it is worth noting that the GHS 14,000,000.00 outstanding has not been paid and that CWSA will surely take all the necessary steps to validate and vet the data for the outstanding amount before payment to the service providers.
Based on the auditor’s report, CWSA has not been implicated in anyway and due diligence was observed prior to the implementation of the President’s directive. This was in the form of the Chief Executive’s directive for the implementation of the directive. The Chief Executive has shown his commitment to due process and did not yield to pressure from service providers to pay for unvalidated claims. This resulted in he Chief Executive issuing a statement to that effect in August 2020 (https://youtu.be/hwKSzBlxXm0)he maintained the agency’s stance on validating all submitted data and claim to service providers.