LEAP programme loses GH¢15.8 million in unauthorized payments, Audit Report reveals

November 3, 2023
LEAP - Ms Lariba Zuweira Abudu, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection
Ms Lariba Zuweira Abudu, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection

An audit report on the management of the Livelihood Empowerment against Poverty () Programme has revealed that unauthorized payments to unqualified individuals, including the deceased, and overspending cost Ghana approximately GH¢15.8 million between 2017 and 2022.

The report, released by the Auditor-General's Department and presented to , raised concerns about financial mismanagement within the program.

The audit report highlighted various payment irregularities, including GH¢396,620 paid to 170 beneficiaries whose socio-economic status had improved, rendering them ineligible for the grant.

Additionally, GH¢84,480 was disbursed to representatives of 44 deceased beneficiaries.

The LEAP Management Secretariat (LMS) was found not to have adhered to fund utilization guidelines, resulting in excessive spending of GH¢15,369,309.97, thereby jeopardizing the program's sustainability.

The report emphasized the need for the Ministry of Gender, Children, and Social Protection (MoGSCP) to enhance its record-keeping regime to improve accountability.

It recommended that all accountants responsible for the LEAP program maintain records and regularly report to the Chief Director on financial information related to cash grants and administrative costs.

Furthermore, the audit called for a review of the decision to rely solely on data from the Ghana National Housing Register (GNHR) to identify beneficiaries, suggesting a reassessment to graduate and remove ineligible beneficiaries.

The LEAP program, initiated in 2008 and now in its 15th year, aims to provide cash grants to extremely poor and vulnerable households to alleviate economic and social distress.

Targeting vulnerable groups like orphaned and vulnerable children, breastfeeding mothers, the elderly, and individuals with severe disabilities, it offers bi-monthly cash payments to eligible households in various districts across the country.

As of December 2020, the program had enrolled 335,015 extremely poor households across 259 districts.

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