General News of Wednesday, 2 August 2017
The Auditor-General Daniel Yaw Domelevo has revealed, four persons have been asked to pay back monies lost to the state as directed by the Supreme Court last June.
Mr. Yaw Domelovo revealed at a press conference at the Audit Service Tuesday, the four have been issued with certificates of indebtedness two weeks ago.
He would not give details about the four or the amount to be paid back to the state explaining, it is against the provisions of the Audit Act to do so.
A report, he said, will be prepared and given to Parliament with all the details for the Ghanaian public to apprise themselves of progress.
But the move to surcharge is a rare progress being made in the public sector after about 25 years of failure to retrieve monies unlawfully pocketed by public officials.
“We are demanding it plus interest” the Auditor-General beamed at journalists. The new drive to surcharge and disallow comes following Supreme court order last June 14.
The court, following a suit by Occupy Ghana, directed the Auditor-General to wake up to its responsibility enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.
Article 187, Clause 7(b) (i) of the states: “…. the Auditor-General may disallow any item of expenditure which is contrary to law and surcharge the amount of any expenditure disallowed upon the person responsible for incurring or authorising the expenditure.
This is further stated in the Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584) Section 17(1-2)
Upholding the law, Daniel Domelevo said the persons served with a certificate of indebtedness have 60 days to pay up or go to court to challenge the A-G.
Mr. Domelevo said in recognition of his office’s new work, some 16 officials including himself have been trained in evidence-gathering.
He explained that audit reports are not sufficient evidence to surcharge a person indicted in their reports.
There is the need for some forensic auditing to establish a prima facie case against such persons.
He said for months now, the Department has been doing a lot of work to make a case. The final directive to surcharge is authorised only by himself, he said.
Seven more certificates are set to leave his office to persons whom a prima facie case of wrong-doing has been established.
“I want to score 100% when they got to court” he said explaining the evidence gathered is capable of standing its grounds in court should an aggrieved party decide to challenge the surcharge.
He said since the practice of surcharge is new to the Department, guidelines are being developed to help other senior management members and later regional auditing heads to also issue a certificate of surcharge.
He asked for cooperation from those issued with certificates.
“It is not because we dislike you…we are simply doing out work,” he said and pledged not to compromise in the Department’s fight to protect the public purse.
“When I was sworn in I made it clear my allegiance is to the constitution of Ghana”.
Mr. Domelovo also assured Ghanaians, the Department will assert its independence from political actors.
“The team we have here don’t have colour. If they have it, they dare not show it”.