Dr Eric Oduro Osae, a local governance expert has urged audit committee members of the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to probe misapplication of funds to ensure strict adherence to the Public financial management (PFM) Act.
He said the audit committees existed to ensure that the right things regarding the public finances were done and so urged them not to treat cases lightly adding “don’t allow people to steal funds at the assemblies and later turn it into advances to be paid later”
Dr Oduro Osae, who made this statement at an orientation programe for members of the newly constituted Audit Committee of the MMDAs in the Eastern Region, made it clear that the role of the audit committee members was to use all means backed by their constitution to ensure judicious use of public funds at the respective assemblies. The exercise was to expose them to the local government system and its operation and was organised by the Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA) in collaboration with the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) with funding from the Inter-Ministerial Coordinating Committee (IMCC). The Director-General of the IAA, Mr Ransford Adjei, explained that the audit committees were replacing the former Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARIC) and the major difference was in the formation where most of the members were coming from the outside with expertise. He said the mandatory role of the committees were to ensure that management of the respective assemblies complied with the internal audits reports, and that of the public accounts committee recommendations implemented to the fullest. Mr Adjei noted that one key function that the ARIC failed to do was monitoring and evaluating the reports from the units of the assemblies and urged the newly constituted committees to review all those reports and play an advisory role on PFM in their respective assemblies. The Director-General however, cautioned the audit committees to stay within their limit and mandate and not to usurp the powers of the Presiding Member’s as well as hold the committee meetings in a transparent manner for the benefit of improving situations at the assemblies.