The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) is on the heels of 205 entities and individuals who took GH¢18.2 million loans and have defaulted in payment.
More than GH¢30 million in interest has accrued on the loan, which was granted by the Venture Capital Trust Fund between 2013 and 2014.
According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Venture Capital Trust Fund, Mr Yaw Owusu-Brempong, the fund was collaborating with the BNI and the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to retrieve the money.
Mr Owusu-Brempong told the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament at its sitting in Accra last Monday that there were no written agreements on more than 50 per cent of the loans granted.
He said loan officers granted the loans based on instructions from the then CEO of the Fund.
Non-approval of loans
Contrary to Section 15 (5 and 6) of the Venture Capital Trust Fund Act, 2004 (Act 680) which states that the board shall within 28 days after the receipt of an application, grant the application if specified conditions were fulfilled, the Auditor-General observed that out of 154 files examined, 53, representing 34 per cent did not have documents to prove that the loans were approved.
Mr Owusu-Brempong said that this was as a result of improper record keeping on borrowers.
That, he noted, put the fund at risk because approved loans did not meet the set criteria.
It also emerged during the PAC sitting that GH¢1.3 million loans approved did not have terms and conditions, including interest rates, repayment amount, start and end periods between the fund and borrowers.
“It was noted in the cause of the audit that loan agreements on some files were not signed and dated by the recipients. This was as a result of lapses in the process and procedures bothering on ineffective monitoring and follow ups,” the audit report noted.
It also came to light at the committee that 51 per cent of files examined, representing 79 out of 154 files, did not have information on the location of borrowers and their registered offices.
The situation, according to the CEO of the fund, who assumed office recently, made it difficult for the fund to monitor and evaluate the performance of the companies involved.
The Auditor-General’s 2015 report on public boards indicated that the Fund’s expenditure increased by 61.5 per cent from GH¢3.7 million in 2013 to GH¢6 million in 2014.
Remarks from New CEO
Mr Owusu-Brempong told the committee that the fund was worried over the infractions recorded in the audit report and promised the committee that he would lead the charge to prevent such infractions from occurring in the future.
He said the Venture Capital Trust Fund was cooperating with the security agencies to ensure that all the defaulters were dealt with.
“We are working to get maximum recovery,” Mr Owusu-Brempong said.
He said the fund had been publishing names of defaulters in the newspapers as part of moves to recover the loans.
Officials from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) and the National Lottery Authority (NLA) also appeared before the committee to answer questions on issues raised in the Auditor General’s 2015 Report.