Publication of COVID-19 expenditure audit premature – A-G

The Attorney-Gen­eral (A-G), Godfred Yeboah Dame has described the publi­cation of the special audit on govern­ment’s COVID-19 expenditure by the Auditor-General as premature.

He has demanded a withdrawal of the report from the public do­main until debated and sanctioned by Parliament in line with Constitu­tional requirement.

“A prior publication of the Auditor-General’s report complete­ly undermines the purport and meaning of article 187(5) and (6) of the Constitution and should not be encouraged.

“Consequently, I advise a with­drawal of the report on the Gov­ernment COVID-19 transactions from your website before same has been debated by Parliament and considered by the appropri­ate committee of Parliament,” a statement issued by the Mr Dame, to the Auditor-General and sighted by the Ghanaian Times, yesterday, directed.

According to the Attorney-Gen­eral, article 18’7(6) of the Constitu­tion requires Parliament to debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint where necessary and in the public interest, a committee to deal with any matters arising from it.

The statement said “The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament seems to be the com­mittee designated by Parliament to interrogate issues arising out of the Auditor-General’s reports.

“It is only after satisfying the constitutional requirement of submitting the Auditor-Gen­eral’s report to Parliament, the subsequent debate by Parliament thereon and conclusion of work by the appropriate committee of Parliament that the report of the Auditor-General may be consid­ered final and relevant action may be taken thereon.”

Mr Dame expressed concern that over the years, the Audit Service had ignored notices served it by its office in the execution of disallowances and surcharges to public officials.

He pointed out issues of notice to affected individuals, whether the affected individuals and institutions have been served with the notice of surcharge or disallowance and whether the information is in com­pliance with the statutory steps and when same is done, crucial for the Attorney-General to institute legal action against specified defaulters.

“By letters dated December 21, 2017, December 14, 2018 and Janu­ary 21, 2019, the Attorney-General informed the then Auditor-Gen­eral about lapses in the notices of disallowance and surcharge served on the Attorney-General in order for him to remedy same. Unfortu­nately, to date, same have not been remedied,” the statement said.

The Attorney-General called for enhanced cooperation between the Audit Service and the office of the Attorney-General and Ministry of Justice.

“These two institutions are at the forefront of the quest for public ac­countability, probity, the rule of law and the rooting out of corruption and malpractices in Ghana, and, therefore, are left with no option but to collaborate.

“In this regard, I have set up a special team in my Ministry, jointly headed by the Solicitor-General and the Director of Public Prosecu­tions, specifically charged with co­ordinating with your outfit in order to promptly act, in accordance with law, on established irregularities contained in the Auditor-General’s reports and one would appreciate if you could set up a similar team to work with my office,” he urged in the statement.


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