Fisheries Alliance, a network of over 60 Civil Society Groups, individual researchers and security agencies is raising red flags over the withdrawal of monies from the Fisheries Development Fund at the Fisheries Commission headquarters in Accra.
These withdrawals run contrary to provisions of the legal documents that established it sometime in 2002, according to the Alliance.
[contextly_sidebar id=”E6bXigRWtma7WX1zLw22VmQ12XExjTwi”]Section 41 of the Act states that monies issued out of the fund shall be by cheque signed by two persons; the chairperson of the Fisheries Commission, the director and one other member of the Commission. This stipulates that two of these persons must sign before monies are taken out of the account by cheque.
However, Co-convener of Fisheries Alliance, Richster Nii Amarfio in a Citi News interview alleged that “for a long time there has not been a commission. Between 2002 and 2009 there was no commission. And intermittently too, there has not been a commission. Even this year  there is no commission. The Alliance is therefore concerned about how monies are taken from the fund because the required signatories to the fund do not exist but monies from the fund are been disbursed”.
The fund receives monies from loans from international organizations such as the World Bank, vessel license fees, and charges against individuals and companies involved in illegal fishing among others. Monies from the fund are also taken out for other purposes.
“But the transparency issue here is; if the people to go into the fund do not exist, how do the monies leave out of the fund? Which unauthorized persons are going into the fund? The World Bank facility for the West African Regional Fisheries Program that went into the fund is been used, so who signed for disbursement, when the authorized persons are non-existent?”
The Alliance also wants the Fisheries Commission to be decoupled from the Ministry of Food and Aquaculture “so that the commission could go fully as a public sector and operates as a commission. It is supposed to be a technical wing of the ministry. But in situations where the policy wing dictates to the technical wing such that it suppresses recommendations aimed at helping recover the dwindling fortunes of fishing in the country, the decoupling is urgently needed if we want to see the sector recover from its dwindling fortunes, ” Mr. Nii Amarfio advised.
By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/citifmonline.com/Ghana