General News of Friday, 19 October 2018
The Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, has described as ‘grossly incompetent’, an application for judicial review filed by a former Board member of the Ghana Gas Company, Dr. Valerie Sawyer against the findings of the Economic and Organized Crimes Office (EOCO) into the activities of the company.
Dr. Sawyer applied for the review earlier this month after a forensic audit accused her team at the Ghana Gas company of some financial improprieties.
Valerie Sawyerr before the suit, had written an article in which she condemned the audit report that affected six state agencies.
But the Attorney General, acting for EOCO, said the application is frivolous and borne out of an improper appreciation of the law regarding the matter.
While Valerie Sawyer contended that the failure of the auditors to contact her before the release of the report amounted to a breach of the natural rules of justice, right to administrative justice and fair hearing, the Attorney General said the auditors were not under any obligation to contact her as their work was neither judicial nor quasi-judicial.
The Deputy Attorney General in a commentary on the case said, “the application is grossly incompetent and borne out of a failure to appreciate the law on the subject matter.”
Ghana Gas Company is a private company limited by liability owned by GNPC, and therefore not subject to the audit powers of the Auditor-General. The accounts of Ghana Gas Company do not form part of the public accounts of Ghana in respect of which the Auditor-General has constitutional responsibility to audit.
Further, save situations where public funds are used by Ghana Gas limited, it is not required to apply the procurement laws of Ghana. The Public Procurement Act applies only to institutions which utilize public funds. The engagement of and payment for the auditors in question were out of the accounts of Ghana Gas Limited, and therefore the process was not subject to the Procurement Act.
Also, the alleged failure of the auditors to contact Mrs. Sawyerr before the issuance of the audit report is immaterial, as the conduct of the audit is neither judicial nor quasi-judicial proceedings. EOCO as an investigative body is authorized by law to rely on any report it deems fit in the conduct of its investigations. In fact, EOCO as an investigative body is not even required to invite a person before it may recommends for charges to be preferred against that person. Therefore, the alleged failure to contact Mrs. Sawyerr before the conduct of the audit is irrelevant and does not result in any injury to her.
Valerie Sawyerr filed processes at the High Court on October 9, seeking to quash the report of the Cabinet Committee responsible for the coordination of the Investigations/Forensic Audit.
The report, which came out a few weeks ago showed that helicopters purchased from China Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation were never used for the purpose for which they were purchased.
The report also alleges that equipment for the helicopters were never delivered even though they were part of the initial contract price, including initial training cost that was not utilized for the intended purpose.
Heads of 6 state agencies under Mahama ‘misappropriated’ over Ghc800m – Report
An audit into the finances of some state-owned companies has revealed the misappropriation of over GHc800 million by some former heads of the institutions.
The companies, which include the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), Micro and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Ghana Free Zones Board, Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), and the Ghana Technology University College, were part of 16 companies whose activities were probed.
The investigation was triggered upon suspicion that there had been widespread financial malfeasance by the John Mahama-led administration.
Citi News has gathered that reports on six of the institutions have been forwarded to the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).
The audit report, signed by Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, Secretary to the Committee responsible for the coordination of investigations or forensic audits, and sighted by Citi News, covers the period January to June 2018.
It says the Committee was originally mandated to audit 18 public institutions but had to drop two of them due to logistical constraints.
NDC lying to divert attention from ‘exposed’ rot in state agencies – NPP
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) recently described as false, claims that government in collaboration with the UNDP, has squandered over $6.8 million on private investigations with the aim to arrest and prosecute former government appointees.
The General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Asiedu Nketia at a press conference alleged that these investigations were being done at a staggering cost to the state.