General News of Tuesday, 6 February 2018
Member of Pressure Group, Occupy Ghana, and Private Legal Practitioner, Ace Ankomah, has justified the Auditor-General’s request for more powers to prosecute officials indicted in reports of the State Auditor.
David Domelevo made the request on the back of revelations from a 2016 audit of the finances of the various ministries, departments and agencies, which revealed that some state agencies engaged in unlawful monetary practices, saying “…if a fiat is given by the Attorney General to Audit Service just like it has been given to the police and others to prosecute…which I have actually applied for, you will see me in action.”
According to Ace Ankomah, this request, when granted, will empower the Auditor General to not only surcharge corrupt officials but also prosecute them.
“Right now, his powers are limited to disallowing and surcharging, but if you read the reports from the Auditor General from over the years you will weep at the blatant theft, the falsification of certificates, the fraudulent practices in the Auditor General’s report.”
“Nobody ever goes to jail for these things because the Auditor General’s office is swarmed. The Police are swarmed. Some of these are technical white collar stuff that is a bit difficult in prosecuting so he is saying that apart from disallowing and surcharging, give me the power to prosecute…,” the lawyer explained.
The Supreme Court in June 2017 ordered the Auditor General to begin surcharging persons found to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state.
The order was secured after a suit filed by pressure group, Occupy Ghana in June 2016.
62 firms surcharged by Auditor General to cough up nearly Ghc9m
The Auditor General subsequently in December 2017, announced that it has surcharged 62 organisations for receiving payments from the state without any documentation as proof.
The surcharge certificates totalling GHc8,886,791.9101742 according to the Auditor General, was for the period between December 31, 2013, and December 31, 2015.
The companies, mostly private organisations, also included some state institutions and staff of some government agencies.
In a release by the Auditor General’s office, it said that efforts to track down the listed companies had been fruitless forcing them to publish their names.