The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) says it is seeking ways to bring to book public officials and state institutions found culpable of mishandling state monies and resources captured in the Auditor General’s Report.
The committee, which finished public hearings on some state institutions on the reports of the Auditor General on the Public Accounts of Ghana?s Consolidated Fund for the years ended 31st December 2012 and 2013, has come under fire for its failure to prosecute after the hearings.
Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, a Member of the Committee, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA), agreed with public sentiments that it appeared the hearings were becoming an annual ritual or a mere “talkshop” since the committee could not implement the recommendations in the Report.
He attributed the lack of enforcement of sanctions by the committee to the legal and structural nature of the committee, saying it lacked the legal power for enforcement.
He added, however, that the committee was seeking ways to implement the recommendations of the Auditor Generals Reports on the Government Departments, Ministries and Agencies (MDAs).
“The recommendations are not well implemented, but some of the problems are due to the structural and legal nature of the committee,” Mr Osei-Mensah, who is also Member of Parliament (MP) for Bosomtwi Constituency, and Second Deputy Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament, said.
The MP, who rather prefers to be called “Messenger of the People,” said unlike Uganda, Ghana did not have what was called the “PAC Police” to prosecute malfeasance in the report, adding that the report, in itself, was not a finality and had to go through parliamentary plenary and adoption.
“Unfortunately, these recommendations go back to the auditees for implementation. You can’t just invite the heads of the MDAs who might only be affected by the recommendations in the Audit Report. You don’t expect them to do any good work in relation to the effective implementation of the recommendations,” Mr Osei-Mensah said.
He said only two of the financial courts that were to be established under the Financial Administration Act had been established, but there were no cases before them now.
Mr Osei-Mensah announced that the committee intended to seek advice from the legal people as to how the committee could facilitate getting issues to the courts for prosecution.
He suggested the formation of sub-committees of the PAC to make follow-ups on the MDAs on the level of implementation of the recommendations.
“We are of the view that if we should be able to ensure about 60 per cent of implementation level, it would save the country a lot of resources required for development purposes.
“Notwithstanding the challenges, the PAC has achieved a lot of successes in terms of people making payments when they are called upon to appear before the Committee,” Mr Osei-Mensah said.
“Even though we have not attained the level of success we want, there is some level of achievement. The fact that people fear even to be called in public, and relatives find respondents being drilled on television make people sit up and consider their actions when working,? he said.