Covid-19 Trust Fund debunks allegations of misappropriation

The Board of Trustees and Management of the Covid-19 National Trust Fund have dismissed allegations that they have misappropriated funds donated to help fight the spread of the coronavirus disease.
There is a claim that the Trust Fund spent more than ¢250 million to procure hand sanitisers.



But in a press statement dated December 23, 2021, the Administrator of the Fund, Dr William Asare, stated that as of December 21, the Trust Fund had received a cumulative cash contribution of ¢59,828,480.36, an amount lower than what had been quoted in the allegation.

“So far, the Trust Fund has disbursed an amount of ¢49,763,135.32 towards the funding of various projects, as well as the provision of PPEs and other medical items to hospitals, health centres, CHPS Compounds, medical facilities, Covid-19 Care Management Centres, Covid-19 Isolation Centres and a few research activities,” it stated.


PRESS RELEASE
Introduction

The Board of Trustees and Management of the COVID-19 National Trust Fund have watched an audio-visual piece circulating on YouTube and other
social media platforms in which a certain Mr. Kelvin Taylor makes libelous serious, damaging, and wholly unfounded allegations against the person of the Chairperson of the Trust Fund, Her Ladyship Justice Sophia A.B Akuffo (rtd), the former Chief Justice of Ghana, and the Trust Fund as a whole.



Ordinarily, the COVID-19 National Trust Fund would have preferred to treat the diatribe with the contempt that such a scurrilous material deserves.

However, its maliciously misleading content is such as to misinform the public, well intentioned persons, and potential contributors to the Trust
Fund.

We therefore respond as follows:


Background

The Trust Fund was set up by Act 1013, (2020) to complement the efforts of the Government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds are to be applied in Ghana essentially to:

a) support persons engaged in the combat of the COVID-19 pandemic.
b) support needy and vulnerable persons infected with or affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Therefore, the Fund receives and manages contributions and donations from well-meaning individuals, groups, and corporate bodies.



Contributions Received

As of 21st December 2021, the COVID-19 National Trust Fund has received a cumulative cash contribution of GH¢59,828,480.36, (ie) a little under GH¢60million), since its inception in April 2020.

Amount Disbursed

So far, the Trust Fund has disbursed an amount of GH$49,763,135.32 towards the funding of various projects, as well as the provision of PPE and
other medical items to hospitals, health centers, CHPS Compounds, Medical facilities, COVID-19 Care Management Centers, COVID-19 Isolation Centers, and a few research activities. Additionally, support to vulnerable persons affected by the pandemic included the provision of lump sum cash support to over 7,000 needy and vulnerable persons throughout the country, as well as the supply of sundry packaged food items.

Details of the contributions, operations and disbursements made by the Trust Fund in 2020 are captured in the 2021 Mid-Year Budget Review and Financial Statement of the Government of Ghana.

Also, details of all cash and in-kind donations received by the Trust Fund as well as the names of all donors and activities funded to date can be obtained at its website https://nationalcovidtrustfund.gov.gh

Audited Accounts

The COVID-19 National Trust Fund can state categorically that the accounts of the Trust Fund were audited by the Ghana Audit Service from May 2021 to August 2021, at the request of the Board of Trustees of the Trust Fund.

The Audit Service has yet to publish its final observations. But we can confirm that nothing untoward was discovered during the exercise.
It is therefore not only erroneous, but also malicious for anyone to claim that the books of the Trust Fund have not been subjected to audit, or that the Chairperson and Trustees have misused or misapplied any funds donated to the institution.

The COVID-19 National Trust Fund would like to stress further that it does not receive and has never since its establishment by Parliament on March 29, 2020, received any money or funds from the Government.

As stated earlier, the Trust Fund’s raison d’etre is to receive voluntary contributions and donations from the public and disburse same on interventions aimed at combatting the spread of COVID-19, as well as assisting those infected with or impacted by the virus.

It is most extraordinary for Mr. Kelvin Taylor to allege in his said audio-visual piece that the Fund has spent more than GH¢250 million to purchase hand sanitizers whilst the amount received by the Trust Fund in the entire 19 months of its existence is under GH¢60million. Reference to foreign loans being obtained for the use of the Trust Fund also stem from the height of ignorance of the purpose and source of funding of the COVID-19 National Trust Fund.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 National Trust Fund declares that our doors and books are open for every member of the public including the media, for scrutiny.

Civil Society Organisations (COs) like the Fourth Estate and Ghana Integrity Initiative can attest to receiving complete information from the Trust Fund in response to their requests for information.

The Trust Fund will always welcome constructive criticism or suggestions, aimed at enhancing the effectiveness of its operations.

However, any criticism which is based on propaganda, borne out of ill-will, malice, deliberate misinformation or ignorance and meant to create mischief or tarnish the hard-earned reputation of the Chairperson and the Board members of the Trust Fund, is not only irresponsible, but also detestable.


Dr William Collins Asare
Administrator, National COVID-19 Trust Fund
22 December 2021

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