General News of Saturday, 23 December 2017
Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, has expressed discontent with a decision by the Ministry of Finance to cut his department’s budgetary allocations for 2018.
According to him, contrary to the provisions of the law, the Finance Ministry has failed to approve the relevant budget that will facilitate the work of the Auditor-General’s Department and to fight corruption.
Speaking on Joy FM/Multi TV news analysis show, Newsfile, Saturday, Mr Domelevo noted that one of the effective ways to fight corruption was to follow every public officer to verify assets they have declared.
Article 286 of the 1992 Constitution tasks public office holders to submit their completed Assets Declaration Forms and deliver them to the Auditor-General’s Department.
To be effective, according to Mr Domelevo, there was a need to, in some cases physically verify the assets declared by the public office holders — an exercise that requires a lot of resources that has been denied the Department.
“I after realising these responsibilities I am more than worried, especially when my budget for 2018 has been reduced by the Ministry of Finance illegally. Because the Court ruled that the Ministry of Finance cannot reduce our budget approved by our Board. But this year the Ministry of Finance did the same thing,” he lamented.
He was however quick to add that in ten years his department has received the biggest funding thus far.
Corruption in public offices has come to the fore this week following allegations that have hit the current New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration.
The latest incident involves a budget of GHC 800, 000 for the construction of a website for the Ministry of Special Development Initiative.
Related: Ministry budgets ¢800k for website; ¢500k for a 4-wheel drive
Although the Ministry has clarified that an input error recorded GHC 80, 000 as GHC 800, 000, that has not stopped the public uproar over perceived acts of corruption under the current government.
Speaking on Newsfile, Mr Domelevo said as part his outfit’s initiative to win the fight against corruption, there was a plan to put systems in place by January 2018, “so that those who are declaring from now can be a test case for us on how to verify et cetera.”
However, with a cut in the budget, this initiative could be stifled, he suggests.
He acknowledges that the resource challenges, notwithstanding, the Department’s fight against corruption is making significant headways.
“I will not say we are doing poorly. Relatively I think there is an improvement if you take my institution. In fact, if you look at making resources available to the Auditor-General over the past 10 years, this year is actually a better one by far. I salute the Ministry for that. However, we have to do better,” he said.
He also wants an ultimatum to be put on the release of funds to his outfit, just like the law gives an ultimatum for the filing of the report.
“If we don’t do that, it’s like tying our hands at the back and saying go and box,” he said.