Joy News investigations into underhand dealings at the Births and Deaths Registry have uncovered how a total of ¢411,760 meant for the state, were diverted into private accounts in the Upper West, Western and Eastern Regions.
These included funds meant for registration of child births in deprived communities as well as revenue collected by staff of the Registry between 2015 and 2016.
The latest Joy News documentary titled ‘Paper Citizens’ was aired on the Joy News channel on Multi TV Monday night.
It detailed how officials of the Births and Deaths Registry have over the years, been issuing birth certificates to foreigners to help them acquire Ghanaian passports.
Ivoirians, Cameroonians and Nigerians, who are the main beneficiaries of the criminal dealings, pay as little as ¢150, to acquire the certified documents, undercover journalist, Kwetey Nartey revealed.
But charging unapproved fees is not the only malfeasance workers of the Births and Deaths Registry have been involved in, as the team uncovered, funds had also been diverted into private accounts by individuals.
Upper West Region
According to the 2016 report of the Auditor-General, Plan Ghana, an NGO on January 25, 2015, released a total of ¢224,760.00 for registration of 10,000 childbirths in deprived communities in the region.
However, the Registrar, Francis Kupo, failed to lodge a total revenue of ¢224,760.00 into the approved bank account.
He also did not issue official receipt for the fees and rather lodged the amount into a private welfare account held at the National Investment Bank, Wa.
Again, the Auditor-General found bank transfers of over ¢175,000 by the Sekondi Births and Deaths Registry in the Western Region, into an HFC bank account.
A review of revenue records and bank statements disclosed that total revenue of ¢175,860.00 collected by the Registry between March 16, 2016, and September 1, 2016, was paid to HFC Bank Limited, Takoradi.
However, management could not provide evidence to support the transfer of the said amount into the Consolidated Fund bank account.
A revenue collector at the Births and Deaths Registry at Akim Oda in the Eastern region also collected over ¢12,000 for issuing births and deaths certificates without receipts.
The total cash collections were allegedly sent to the Registrar at the Regional Office, Koforidua, for the issuance of Treasury Counterfoil Receipts.
However, no Treasury Counterfoil Receipts were produced to acknowledge the alleged payments to the Regional Registrar.
Call for probe
Meanwhile, Chairman of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annor Dompreh, has served notice of drawing the Speaker’s attention to the exposé to trigger a formal probe into the matter.
Frank Annor Dompreh
“Ordinarily, a committee cannot investigate such a matter unless [there is] a referral from the Speaker [and] I also believe that it will not be out of place if the National Security decides to investigate further,” the Nsawam-Adoagyiri legislator lamented on the Midday News on Joy FM, Monday.
He wondered how officials t the Registry “can this unpatriotic and could stoop this low,” to bend the rules governing their operation.