A CALL FOR THE SUBMISSION AND PUBLICATION OF REPORTS OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL FOR 2019 FINANCIAL YEAR BY THE MINORITY CAUCUS IN PARLIAMENT
PRESS BRIEFING BY THE MINORITY LEADER-HON HARUNA IDDIRISU
Ghana is a country governed by law, the supremacy of the 1992 constitution must be upheld and respected.
We have invited you here this morning to draw attention to a deliberate and unpardonable constitutional breach which is a consequence of Executive intrusion and interference with an independent constitutional institution The Auditor-General – Audit Service.
You recall the zeal and alacrity with which the President asked the Auditor-General to proceed on Leave against all good governance advice which was predicated on our collective quest to allow the Auditor General as is the case in Ghana to fight corruption and expose financial malfeasance including misappropriation and embezzlement, which are regular features of the Auditor General Reports in the last decade with substantial loss of state funds.
The Auditor-General is enjoined by the Constitution and the Audit Service Act to audit and submit to Parliament his Reports on the Public Accounts of Ghana for the preceding year within six (6) after the end of the said preceding year.
Article 187(5) of the Constitution provides as follows:
“The Auditor-General shall, within six months after the end of the immediately preceding financial year to which of the accounts mentioned in clause (2) of this article relates, submit his report to Parliament and shall in that report, draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited and to any other matter which in his opinion ought to be brought to the notice of Parliament.”
Section 20 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 586) also provides as follows:
“The Auditor-General shall, within six months after the end of the immediately preceding financial year to which each of the accounts mentioned in this part relates, submit his report to Parliament and shall, in the report, draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited and to any other matter which in his opinion ought to be brought to the notice of Parliament.”
Notwithstanding the imperative of the above provisions of the Constitution and Act 586, the Auditor-General has failed to submit and publish his Reports, three (3) months to the end of the financial year.
It is worth noting that the Auditor-General had previously complied with the above provisions in respect of being up-to-date with his Reports to Parliament.
For instance, the Reports of the Auditor-General for the 2018 Financial Year were submitted within the statutory time limit.
Unfortunately, as that the time of this Presser, the Auditor-General was yet to submit the Reports for the 2019 Financial Year.
It is curious yet ironic that the Reports of Auditor-General fell into arrears following the directive by the President to the Auditor-General to proceed on leave.
The Auditor-General had laboured to ensure that all Reports are submitted to Parliament within the statutory timelines. It is therefore sad that the failure to submit the said Reports on time to Parliament only occurred after the ill-advised and unfortunate decision of the President, directing the Auditor-General to proceed on compulsory retirement.
It ought to be noted that the Auditor-General is enjoined to draw the attention of Parliament to instances where public monies are not properly accounted for or where there is deficiency through fraud, default or mistake by any person and that resources are used with due regard to economy, efficiency and effectiveness.
It is the view of the Minority that the abrupt and ill-advised decision of the President, in directing the Auditor-General to procced on his accumulated leave was not intended to gag the A-G in drawing attention to the many anomalies perpetrated by Government.
The Minority Caucus is particularly concerned that these delays may be deliberate for the primary purpose of avoiding further embarrassment to the Government. It is our hope that the delays are not intended to cover up malfeasance on the part of Government because this year is an election year.
The Minority Caucus in Parliament in the interest of accountability and transparency calls on the Acting Auditor-General to do what is constitutional required of him, as a matter of urgency, submit to Parliament and subsequently publish the Reports on the Audited Accounts of Government for the 2019 Financial Year as provided for in the Constitution (Article 187 (5)) and the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584).
We are, therefore, calling on the Acting Auditor-General to as a matter of urgency submit to Parliament, his Reports for the 2019 financial year.
We further call on the President of the Republic to direct the Acting Auditor-General to urgently submit the said Reports to Parliament for consideration and Report just as the he directed the Auditor-General to proceed on his statutory leave.
Accountability, transparency and good governance obliges all of us to ensure that the Auditor-General complies with tenets and dictates and of the constitution and the laws of Ghana.
We are therefore call on well-meaning Ghanaians to join the Minority in compelling the A-G to comply with the laws of Ghana and submit his Reports to Parliament for scrutiny. Anything short of this will amount to attempts to cover up wrong-doing by Government.