According to the former Minister for Tourism, Arts and Culture, the ministry did not misappropriate GH200,000 during her term, as reported by the Auditor-General.
The money taken from the Marine Drive Project and afterwards utilized for the Kundum Festival in 2018 was repaid, according to her.
She told media that the money was only utilized for the event since the funding allotted for it had been delayed and that she had requested cabinet clearance to use the funds.
“Because festivals are time-bound, if your authorized allocation isn’t in yet, the Chief Directors have the authority to virement, which means you put these items back until the approved financing for the relevant line item arrives. She stated, “There is no such thing as misconduct or misappropriation.”
Catherine Afeku’s remark comes after the Auditor-General found that money intended for the Marine Drive Project were misappropriated by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts, and Culture under Catherine Afeku’s leadership.
The money was used to commemorate the 2018 All Africa Music Awards (AFRIMA), the Kundum Festival, the Minister’s travel to the Volta and Western regions, and other events.
According to the information supplied, Palm Media Ghana Ltd. was paid GH100,000 for the launch of AFRIMA 2018, which took place from May 17 to May 19, 2018.
A total of GH200,000 was also provided to assist the Kundum Festival, which took place from September 1 to September 9, 2018.
The Auditor-General advised that the Chief Director assure a return from the operations account to the Marine Drive project account, with the caveat that “the money should be recovered from the Chief Director if that is not possible.”
Catherine Afeku, on the other hand, stated that the Chief Director at the time exploited virement provisions in the Public Financial Management Act to authorize such expenditure.
“As sector ministers, you should be aware that we are not spending officers; rather, we serve as policy advisors. So I got cabinet clearance for a specific line of spending,” she explained.
Meanwhile, the annual Kundum Festival Planning Committee has turned down a grant of GH200,000 from the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture for the 2018 event.
The Committee announced in a news statement dated August 19 that the Tourism Ministry gave GH7,000 in 2018 to be split between Axim’s two traditional chiefs (Upper and Lower) during the celebrations.
They said that in 2019, Catherine Afeku, the Constituency’s MP, awarded the Committee a grant of GH5000 to help with organization.
However, portions of the press release said that “no money were received from either the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Arts or Hon Catherine Afeku’s office to assist with the aftermath of any of our Kundum Festival programs, including the Theatre Project.”
The team wrote that they were unaware of the sum indicated in the Auditor-report General’s as Kundum Festival spending.
Marine Drive Project
The Marine Drive Tourist Project is the government of Ghana’s single greatest tourism investment project since independence.
The 241-acre prime beachfront tourism enclave project aims to establish Ghana as the most sought-after tourist destination and destination of choice in the West African sub-region, as well as offer work opportunities in the hospitality industry for many young Ghanaians.
The project’s main goal is to design and develop a 241-acre plot of land that stretches from the Osu Klottey Lagoon (behind the Christianborg Castle) to the Accra Community Centre.
The property will be rezoned as a Tourism Enclave as part of the project. The enclave is intended to concentrate on four major types of tourism in a variety of settings.
These are Business Tourism, which will be along the Accra High Street, Leisure Tourism, which will be along the seafront, Cultural Tourism, which will include the existing Osu Castle, Black Star Square, Asomdwe Park, Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, Arts Centre, and new performing arts facilities, and Eco-Tourism, which will include Traditional Fishing and related economic activities, such as cottage industries and small-scale sub-urban development.
A mall, restaurants, sports clubs, health clinics, and hotels will be among the additional projects.