Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Director-General, International Audit Agency (iAA), has called on Ghana’s Missions to have internal auditors, as part of efforts to provide them with the required advisory and assurance services.
He said the Agency was seeking a collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, for internal auditors to be posted to critical Ghana’s Missions abroad to be able to provide on-the-spot assurance services to the various ambassadors and missions.
He said at the moment, Ghana’s Missions do not have internal auditors but rather had only treasury officers and staff of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, which does not augur well for good Public Financial Management.
“Because it seems to me that we have overly concentrated on internal audit and Public Financial Management within Ghana, without looking outside but the Auditor-General’s report is a wake-up call to all of us to ensure that we have internal auditors posted to Ghana’s Missions.”
Dr Osae disclosed this at the closing ceremony of the 2021 Internal Auditors Conference in Accra.
The Conference was on the theme, “Sustaining Internal Control, Risk Management and Business Continuity in the Public Sector: The Role of Stakeholders”.
The three-day conference is a flagship programme organised by the iAA in fulfillment of its mandate of providing a means for keeping Covered Entities informed about the challenges and control deficiencies in the execution of Government business.
Dr Osae intimated that when internal auditors were posted to Ghana’s Missions, the country stands to benefit by saving a lot of money; saying “a lot of money that has gone done the drain, which otherwise the Controller and Accountant General’s officers could have help Ghana to save would not have been lost if they had had the advice of internal auditors”.
He said there was the need to have internal auditors not in all Ghana’s Missions; adding that the posting of internal auditors to Ghana’s Missions should be approached from a cost-benefit analysis basis by looking at the volume of transactions in those Missions.
He said posting internal auditors to critical Ghana’s Missions would help save a lot of resources; and that they would provide early warning signals that would prevent the Government from losing a lot of resources.
He said the was the need for the Government to fast-track the process of amending the Internal Audit Agency Act to rationalise the factors and make sure that at least internal auditors were repositioned; saying “because they are the ears and eyes of Government on the ground”.
“If we approach the fight against corruption on a precautionary basis and then we use pre-corruption preventive approach it will help rather than the previous approaches we have used, where we wait for people to steal the money before we chase them, that is not the best.”
Dr Osae said Ghana would witness a reduction in infractions in the Auditor-General’s Report if the internal audit was strengthened.
Dr John Kumah, a Deputy Minister of Finance, said the Government was committed to ensuring that the Internal Audit Agency Act was amended within the next 12 months.