The Bank of Ghana has rejected criticisms over the disbursement of $12 million on behalf of the government for the Pwalugu Irrigation Project, despite no visible progress on the ground.

The Central Bank denies any allegations of impropriety, explaining that the payment to the contractors, MS Power China International Group Limited, was released solely upon the government’s authorization.

At a recent Public Accounts Committee sitting, some members questioned the rationale behind such a payment, generating concerns among the public.

But in an exclusive interview with Citi News, Bernard Otabil is the Director of Communication at the Bank of Ghana clarified its role as a custodian of government accounts, insisting that it operates within the bounds of its mandate and cannot be faulted for executing authorized transactions.

“We are the Central Bank, we are actually the chief cashiers of the government and we also hold all governments accountable. So, we would act on instructions that have been given to us. Once that approval has been sought and the project is started, then you would also have the role of the ministry of finance at some point, coming in to also look at what has been submitted and whether it is actually in line with what has been submitted with the contract that has been solely specified and when satisfied with the supporting documents that need to be presented.

“But finally, you will also have the Controller and Accountant General coming in and making that authorization for payment to be made and that comes to us.

“We will then go ahead to make the payment if the account is fully funded and therefore there will not be any form of disclosure on our part because it is the same. It is not different from any of the banking services that you are very much used to. In our unique position, we deal with the government and most of all the MDAs, but largely we are on the government’s side, we are the bankers of the government.  The government withdraws on its own account, let’s make that clear and nobody can issue a cheque on anybody’s account.

“So, we will make the payment from the government’s account authorized by the right people that are supposed to make that authorization. So, we will check to make sure that the instruction solely given both amounts in words actually match and that the account is well funded and then we can go ahead and make payment.”

Simply, the Bank of Ghana is saying it is not responsible for verifying progress of projects post-payment.