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OccupyGhana gives A-G ultimatum to indicate how embezzled funds will be recovered

OccupyGhana (OG), a socio-political non-partisan pressure group for

good and responsible governance, says it will take legal action

against the Auditor-General (A-G) if he fails to make certain

disclosures “which have the potential of recovering tens of millions

of Ghana cedis for Ghana”.

It has, therefore, given the A-G a 14-day ultimatum to respond to its

demands, failing which “OG shall immediately commence legal

proceedings”.

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The disclosure demand by OG includes details of any scheme of rewards

established for persons who provide information leading to the

successful recovery of funds arising from audits undertaken into

reported cases as required by Audit Service regulations.

OccupyGhana schools Auditor General on his mandate

It is also asking the A-G to disclose whether there has been any

reported cases of that nature since it was set up.

These were contained in a letter to the A-G dated January 9, 2015 and

signed by Mr George Andah.

Other demands

OG has also requested the A-G to disclose copies of any

specifications/certifications of disallowance and/or surcharge ever

issued to and served on any heads of departments/institutions under

the Audit Service Act or affected persons under the Local Government

Act.

Furthermore, it has requested a disclosure of a copy of the

certification issued in the one court case involving a surcharge

referred to by the A-G.

It is also demanding copies of “adverse comments” received from

Parliament and the ‘development partners’ on the disallowance and

surcharge powers.

Correspondence

The pressure group had written a letter to the A-G and the

Attorney-General last November requesting for confirmation of a number

of issues, including the A-G’s powers of disallowance and surcharge as

enshrined in Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution, the Audit Service

Act and the Audit Service Regulations.

The A-G, in a confidential letter responding to OG’s request, had

explained the powers of disallowance and surcharge.

But OG, in its January 9, 2015 letter, disagreed with the A-G’s

explanation, describing it as “extremely inadequate and entirely

without merit”.

Background

On November 12, 2014, OG wrote to the A-G and the Attorney-General

requesting confirmation that wherever the A-G had identified

irregularities in his reports, leading to loss of money to the state,

he agreed that those matters constituted appropriate cases for

disallowance and surcharge, and that if he did not consider any case

to be appropriate for disallowance and surcharge, he must specify his

reasons in writing, in accordance with the duty to be candid imposed

by Article 296 of the Constitution.

OG requested further that the A-G apply appropriate measures of

disallowance and surcharge in each case, giving the requisite

statutory notice, and that following the expiry of the notice, he

should exercise his power to refer the matter to the appropriate body

for action to recover the sums through the civil court process.

OG’s response

While respecting the confidentiality of the A-G’s letter, for which

reason it would not make the contents public, OG said it did not

intend to treat its letters confidential.

It said the A-G had misconstrued and placed a unilateral, unreasonable

and unconstitutional limitation on the powers of disallowance and

surcharge under the law.

It further noted that the A-G “has manifestly, unreasonably and

inexplicably confused the disallowance and surcharge procedure under

the Audit Service Act, Section 17, with the provisions of Section 20

of the same act, which only govern the report to Parliament”.

According to OG, the A-G appeared completely oblivious of further

powers of disallowance and surcharge under the Local Government Act.

It said the A-G had given information concerning the setting up of a

joint committee ‘to look at cases spanning 2006 to 2011’, “which is a

manifestly inadequate response to the requests for confirmation sought

in OG’s November 12, 2014 letter”.

Adverse comments

The pressure group cited a document titled, “Paper on Proposals for

Amendment of 1992 Constitutional Provisions on the Office of

Auditor-General and the Audit Service”, undated and published on the

website of the Audit Service:

http://www.ghaudit.org/reports/Proposal+for+Constitutional+Amendment.pdf.

It said the document stated that in the past, both Parliament and “the

development partners who have invested in the national budget” had

unsuccessfully urged the A-G to fully and truly deploy the

disallowance and surcharge powers.

“The Office of the Auditor-General has received adverse comments from

the development partners who have invested in the national budget and

also from Parliament for not actively introducing measures to

implement the provisions on surcharge and disallowance,” it said.

Contention

According to OG, the constitutional and statutory powers of

disallowance and/or surcharge were much more expansive than had been

exercised in the past and had purportedly been explained by the A-G.

It urged the A-G to take urgent steps to issue all relevant

disallowances and/or surcharges from the date the 1992 Constitution

came into force to date.

Credit: graphiconline.com.gh

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Kofi Oppong Kyekyeku

I am a Ghanaian Broadcast Journalist/Writer who has an interest in General News, Sports, Entertainment, Health, Lifestyle and many more.

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