The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has described as worrying the raging impasse between the Auditor-General Daniel Domelevo and the Board Chairman of the audit service.
Mr Domelevo has accused Professor Edward Dua-Agyeman and the board of the Audit Service of unlawfully interfering and violating his constitutional mandate. He has since petitioned President Akufo-Addo to intervene over what he described as “manipulation” of procurement processes. The board chair has also sent a counter-petition to the President on the same matter.
Decrying the development, GACC said in a statement on September 14 that it considered the standoff “extremely troubling” and a “threat” to the ongoing efforts by the audit service to protect the public purse and promote public accountability.
“Article 187 (7) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana is very clear that in the performance of his functions the Auditor General “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”. Those functions include auditing the public accounts of Ghana, all public offices including universities, courts and local assemblies.
“This independence is thus essential in ensuring the Auditor General carries his duties impartially, professionally and in pursuit of the public interest. This is why the Constitution under Article 187 (8) provides a very narrow set of circumstances for even the President to request the Auditor-General to conduct audits outside of planned audits,” the GACC said.
“The Coalition, therefore, finds it unfortunate that Professor Dua Agyeman, a former Auditor General himself, credited with initiating important reforms at the Audit Service that has helped in building the institution to its current level is the one implicated in this worrying situation. This scenario mirrors a number of Board – Executive impasse that has engulfed the public sector and reflect the weaknesses of our corporate governance arrangements. Notwithstanding, this general observation, the Constitution is very clear about the limited role the Board of the Audit Service should play,” added the GACC.
Calling for the constitutional independence of Mr Domelevo, the GACC said the Coalition wish to state “unequivocally that it holds Mr Daniel Domelevo and the staff of the Audit Service in high regard for the work they have embarked upon to ensure that our leaders are held accountable for how they utilize public resources. If we are going to seriously achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid we need a stronger and more committed Audit Service and Auditor-General. We hope that at the end of this process we would have taken positive steps in that direction.”
Scrap boards for Audit Service, OSP, BoG others
Meanwhile, a respected lawyer Professor H. Kwesi Prempeh in the wake of the development at the audit service called for the amendment of article 190 of the 1992 constitution in order to abolish the appointment of boards for critical state institutions which require independence to operate.
“We must amend article 190 of the Constitution to abolish the appointment of boards for non-commercial, regulatory, oversight, or investigative bodies like the Audit Service, Bank of Ghana, EOCO, OSP, FDA, etc,” he said.
“It is sufficient to require that such statutory bodies, which need professional and operational autonomy to be effective in the execution of their special mandates, make periodic reports to and be subject to the oversight powers of Parliament, in the same fashion as currently obtains for CHRAJ, the EC, NCCE, and the Judicial Service.
“It is obviously impossible in our culture to appoint a board for any of these statutory entities without the chairman or some other director on the board thinking they are thereby entitled to boss over the “CEO” or meddle in the regular everyday business of the entity. Let’s save boards for state commercial and industrial enterprises only,” he added.