Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin Friday directed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to report to Parliament the activities of the committees set up at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to ensure the effective implementation of PAC’s recommendations.
He charged PAC to report back to the House within one month on the performance of those committees to determine their effectiveness or otherwise.
The Speaker gave the directive on the floor of the House in response to a question by Mr Haruna Iddrisu, the Minority Leader, on the report of the Auditor-General and the implementation of PAC’s recommendations.
Mr Bagbin said the issue came up when he was the Chairman of PAC, which urged Parliament to pass a law to establish the Recommendations Committees at every MDA, which were empowered to implement the recommendations of PAC or rectify whatever errors were identified.
“I think those committees are functioning. In fact, when I was the Chairman, annually I used to request the list of membership from each MDA and they used to submit them,” he stated.
He noted that throughout his tenure as Chairman of PAC, the various MDAs kept submitting their reports to the Committee.
He said Parliament had succeeded in using the Auditor-General’s Department in retrieving a lot of the funds that were usually found to have been either embezzled or mismanaged; adding that there had been some prosecutions in the matter.
“And so, maybe we would need to get the PAC to be briefing the House on the progress made so far,” the Speaker said.
He said it was not necessary to establish other committees to follow up on some issues if those committees were in place.
“So, I will direct that the PAC should follow on this concern, submit to the House a report on the performance of those implementation Committees for us to discuss and see whether they are effective,” he said.
Mr Iddrisu in his submission quoted Article
187 (6) of the 1992 Constitution saying: “Parliament shall debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint, where necessary, in the public interest, a ‘Committee to deal with any matters arising from it”.
He said there were some conflicts of the law, and that the Supreme Court had ruled on matters relating to surcharge and disallow allowances by the Auditor-General.
He said Parliament must help protect the public purse in getting those committees constituted.
“I raised it at the Business Committee, I raised it with the Majority Leader, and he agreed with me that probably we should get a retired jurist or a retired MP with good standing on (public) accounts.”
Mr Frank Annoh-Dompreh, the Majority Chief Whip, who presented the Business Statement of the House on the behalf of the Majority Leader, indicated that the Business Committee would do the needful.
The House has since adjourned to Tuesday, November 1.