General News of Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Source: The Ghanaian Times
Individuals and organisations found to have embezzled public funds will now be named and shamed in the Auditor-General’s Report on public accounts of Ghana.
The naming and shaming will begin with the 2017 Auditor-General’s Report that would be submitted to Parliament by June next year.
Assistant Auditor-General, Gallant Kwasi Akorly disclosed this to an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday.
The disclosure comes after the Auditor-General last week announced the issuance of “Certificate of Disallowance and Surcharge” to some four individuals in an attempt to recover stolen public funds.
He explained that the report would be submitted to Parliament in line with Article 187(5) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Article 187(5) states that “the Auditor General shall within six months after the end of the immediately preceding financial year to which each of the accounts mentioned in Clause (2) of this Article 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.”
The Auditor General is mandated under Article 187 (7) (b) and the Audit Service Act 584 to issue “Certificate of Disallowance and Surcharge” to recover moneys fraudulently drawn from the public purse, but these provisions had not been strictly adhered to.
The inability of the Auditor-General to apply the law had given rise to financial impropriety recurring in audited public accounts.
OccupyGhana, a pressure group, took the matter to the Supreme Court and the highest court of the land in a landmark ruling, ordered the Auditor-General to crack the whip to recover the moneys lost to the state over the years.
Following the Supreme Court ruling, the Auditor-General, Daniel Yaw Domelevo told journalists in Accra, last week that, the service had taken steps to surcharge offenders with the issuing of the first 11 certificates.
He said it was a gradual approach to recover moneys fraudulently drawn from the public purse over the years.
They would have 60 days to refund the moneys they allegedly embezzled or go to the court to challenge the findings against them.
Mr Domelevo said the service was now conducting forensic auditing meant to gather evidence of fraud, as opposed to the previous regularity auditing to form an opinion and make recommendations.
The Auditor General said that the Supreme Court ruling would be implemented to the letter, adding that properties of alleged offenders who are not alive would not be spared.
The issuing of the certificates to recover stolen moneys does not stop the Attorney General from carrying out its mandate of prosecution if a criminal act is established.