General News of Friday, 16 March 2018
Former Power Minister, Dr Kwabena Donkor has accused the Auditor-General of shirking his responsibilities after it emerged accounts of more than 90 percent of State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) had not been audited since 2014.
The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Employment Committee said the situation would not have arisen had the Auditor-General taken his work seriously.
Financial accounts of the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST), COCOBOD and 48 others owned by the state had, until last year, not been audited since 2014.
The situation has been blamed on a storm of factors, including weak supervision, the appointment of mediocre people and negligence of past governments.
But Dr Donkor believes the Auditor-General should take a sizable chunk of the blame because it is mandated to ensure the auditing of the accounts of all state institutions.
“You hardly find 10percent of SOEs who have their 2016 audited report. The Ghanaian state has not taken this seriously and that is my worry,” the Pru East Member of Parliament said.
Dr Donkor says negligence is a Ghanaian disease, adding, once the state funds the enterprises, the citizens have the responsibility to demand accountability no matter the party in power.
“This is a generic problem, ” he said.
But Chairman of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) James Klutse Avedzi has been more understanding of the Auditor-General’s work, saying it is herculean.
“It is his duty to audit accounts and submit the report by June to Parliament but looking at the number of corporations that is why the constitution gave power to him to sublet some of the [work] to private auditors,” he told Emefa Apawu on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday.
Stunned by the revelation, Mr Avedzi has assured his Committee will make an appeal to the Auditor-General to find a way to audit the account of all the SOEs.
But the State Enterprises Commission (SEC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) is not surprised, saying that had been the state of SOEs from 2013 to 2016.
Until his appointment in April last year, Stephen Asamoah Boateng said the accounts of almost all the SOEs had not been audited and there were lapses in their operations.
“The issue of State-Owned Enterprises and their businesses are things that need attention but they have been left unattended for some time now,” he said, adding he has started working on them.
Under his watch, Mr Boateng said “almost all of the SOEs have an up to date” financial accounts and the rest have shown the commitment to follow suit.
“I don’t have a majority issue on hand in terms of account reporting [because] they are working very hard to get their accounts up to date,” he said, promising to put in place structures to check defaulting institutions.