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Reflex Eco Group – Ghana news

by Samuel Boadi (Local journalist)

Economic analysts have tagged the inauguration of an eight-member committee by Government to review the Auditor-General’s reports as another bureaucratic bottleneck since all recommendations made by the Auditor-General are in plain language.

According to the analysts, recommendations of the Auditor-General on the financial stewardship of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) between 2006 and 2011 have not been heeded, adding that a number of culprits would have been brought to book to inject financial discipline into the public service.

The Attorney General (AG) and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, recently inaugurated the committee to review the Auditor-General’s reports from 2006 to 2011.
They have been mandated to offer advice on the prosecution of officials whose conduct caused losses and recommend any other punitive or restorative measures.

They are also expected to suggest to the Attorney General methods of implementing the recommendations of the various Auditor’ reports. They are to submit their recommendations in a month’s time.

On July 1, this year, President John Mahama directed the Attorney General to reconsider the Auditor-General reports and to prosecute people who would be found to have misappropriated public funds.
Members of the committee include Yaw Adjie-Sifa, Deputy Auditor General (AG), Chairman; Johnson Aseidu Akuamoah, Assistant AG, member; Patience Adumoah Lartey and Frederica Illiasu, both Principal State Attorneys (PSA) at AG’s Department and members respectively.
The rest are Eugene Nyadu, State Attorney as Secretary; Sylvester Williams, PSA; Penelope Ann-Mamattah, Chief State Attorney and Rebecca Adjalo, Senior State Attorney all members.

In his recent report on the Public Accounts of Ghana for the year ended December 31, 2011, the Auditor General, Richard Quartey, said irregularities and indifference of MDAs overall cost the nation GH¢118,820,175.66, $246,744.24 and £136,084.22 respectively.

He said that the cataloguing of financial irregularities in his report on MDAs and other agencies “has become an annual ritual that seems to have no effect because affected MDAs are not seen to be taking any effective action to address the basic problems of lack of monitoring and supervision and non-adherence to legislation put n place to provide effective financial management of public resources.”

Whatever efforts have been made by MDAs in the past has not been effective enough to deal with the same issues of non-compliance and outright disregard for established order in the conduct of public financial business, he said.

“We noted also instances of inadequate controls over the administration of procurement, payroll and contracts,” the Auditor-General stated.

A breakdown showed that cash irregularities recorded for the period totaled GH¢33,972,751.25. This occurred through misappropriation of revenue/receipts, failure by accounting officers to properly acquit payment vouchers or produce them for inspection and validation and failure to recover funds from dishonoured cheques issued by businesses and individuals in settlement of their tax obligations.

Other sources included imprests not accounted for; unauthorized expenditure, non-availability of records on revenue collected and failure to present value books for inspection.