Group condemns ‘worrying’ Audit Service turf war

General News of Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Source: Myjoyonline.com

2018-09-18

Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo

Public Financial Management (PFM) Network, a group made up of 49 civil society organisations working in about 120 districts across the country, has condemned the bitter turf war between the Auditor-General and Chair of the Audit service, noting that the feud has grave implications for good corporate governance.

Bitter feud

The Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo, recently petitioned President Akufo-Addo over interference by Board Chairman Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman in his work.

The petition, dated July 27, 2018, pleaded with the President to intervene in the “unlawful interferences” by the Board Chairman whom the Auditor-General accusing of manipulating the procurement processes among others.

Mr. Domelevo’s petition also accused the Chairman and his allies of clothing themselves with powers to direct and control him unconstitutionally.

He is vowing he will “not obey any unlawful instructions from the Board, including existing and new decisions that are inconsistent with the Constitution…”

In a sharp rebuttal to the petition, Prof Agyeman also dismissed claims of interference by the Auditor General, calling his actions intervention.

PFM Network notes in a press release that, “for the Auditor-General and the Chairman of the Board to be trading such allegations and counter-allegations in the manner and form it has taken gives a cause to worry as to how maximum cooperation for high organizational performance is being affected.”

The group added further: “We further observe that, in recent past, we have not seen such a strong-willed Auditor-General who possesses the public courage and sense of urgency in pursuit of his responsibilities as we have seen with Mr Daniel Domelovo. His leadership and appreciation of the public sentiments of expecting practical results in safeguarding the public purse [are] what inspires confidence within civil society groups like the PFM Network Ghana and the citizens at large. Such a strong personality is needed and timely for strengthening and rebuilding an institution such as the Audit Service.”

The group has called on the Board of the Audit Service to respect the boundaries of corporate governance as it pertains to its workings with Management of the Ghana Audit Service headed by the Auditor-General.

Read the full release below.

WORRYING DEVELOPMENTS AT THE AUDIT SERVICE, PRESIDENCY MUST EXPEDITE ACTION.

The Public Financial Management (PFM) Network Ghana is deeply concerned about recent developments at the Audit Service and its implication for good corporate governance vis-à-vis the mandate of protecting the public purse. For the Auditor-General and the Chairman of the Board to be trading such allegations and counter-allegations in the manner and form it has taken gives a cause to worry as to how maximum cooperation for high organizational performance is being affected.

We further observe that, in recent past, we have not seen such a strong-willed Auditor-General who possesses the public courage and sense of urgency in pursuit of his responsibilities as we have seen with Mr. Daniel Domelovo. His leadership and appreciation of the public sentiments of expecting practical results in safeguarding the public purse is what inspires confidence within civil society groups like the PFM Network Ghana and the citizens at large. Such strong personality is needed and timely for strengthening and rebuilding an institution such as the Audit Service.

Thus, when attempts are made using corporate governance structures such as Board-CEO relations to trade allegations and use media houses as tools to advance one’s position, it is the institution of the Audit Service that suffers a further dent and battered image. Excerpts of Mr. Domelovo’s petition show a man who is detailed in his submission of proof and evidence to back his claims, and gives any independent observer a justification to believe and back his assertions.

We therefore call on Board to respect the boundaries of corporate governance as it pertains to its workings with Management of the Ghana Audit Service headed by the Auditor-General.

As we await the outcome of the Committee set up to investigate, we appeal to the President to ensure a holistic and well-grounded recommendations to not only address the Board-Management relations of the Audit Service, but also serve as guidance for other state agencies.

The role of the Auditor-General and his service in safeguarding the public purse, especially across the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, where in 2016 and 2017 over US$30million of financial irregularities were uncovered, cannot be overemphasized. Therefore, it requires the fullest support and confidence by the citizenry.

As a reminder, the basic thing an auditor needs to function properly is independence, therefore we support any attempt to give more independence to the auditor general whiles delineating his role from board chair and members. The Laws must be made to set this right as espoused in the 1992 Constitution (187, 7a) and Audit Service Act (Section 11 and 4).

*signed*

Charles Othniel Abbey

Executive Secretary

About PFM Network-Ghana

The PFM-Network, made up of 49 civil society organizations working in about 120 districts with 10 regional convenors across the country, was established in 2015 and officially registered in 2017.

It exists to create awareness and deepen citizen’s knowledge in Public Financial Management information, in their communities thereby contributing to the efficient, effective and transparent management of public resources at the national and sub-national levels.

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