Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia on Monday commended the Audit Service and the Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, for an excellent work done, so far.
The Vice President noted that for the past 10 years since the Auditor-General started issuing reports of audited accounts of public sector institutions to Parliament, the recent one had been the best.
“The Audit Service is doing an excellent job. The Board, Management and Staff deserve commendation,” Dr Bawumia added.
Vice President Bawumia gave the commendation at the Second Annual District Auditors’ Conference in Accra.
He reiterated the Government’s resolve to provide the necessary logistical support to the Service in order to operate independently as required by the Constitution of Ghana.
“Disallowance and Surcharge – The Role of the District Auditor” was the theme for the conference.
It provided a platform for the Service to discuss the mandate of the Auditor-General under Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution to disallow and surcharge public officials implicated in financial misappropriation and recover the money to the State.
In the 2021 Auditor-General’s Report to Parliament, it came to light that the State lost some GHS17.5 billion after the A-G audited the accounts of public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions.
The irregularities were mainly in the form of cash, tax, payroll fraud, debts and loans, stores infraction, procurement and contracts abuse among others.
The report compelled some civil society organisations and individuals to protest against the Auditor-General and demanded that he should surcharge those involved in financial malpractices to pay the lost amounts to the State.
For government to tackle the issue of bribery and corruption in the public sector, Vice President Bawumia said the Akufo-Addo Administration rolled out various digitisation initiatives at some public sector institutions and cited the online vehicle registration and licensing at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority as a classic example.
Public sector institutions that witnessed extensive digitisation of their operations included the Passport Office, Tema Port, National Health Insurance Authority, and Registrar General’s Department.
The introduction of the Ghana.gov portal, which enabled individuals and corporate entities to access government services and make payments electronically, was another measure to check bribery and corruption, he said.
The government, Vice President Bawumia said, had increased the budgetary allocations to some anti-corruption institutions including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, Parliament of Ghana, Economic Crime Office, Ghana Police Service, and the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Those interventions, he said, were intended to boost the fight against corruption and enhance productivity in the public sector.
Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, called for closer collaboration between his office and the Auditor-General to recover financial losses suffered by the State.
For instance his office has established a special team to coordinate and follow up with the Auditor-General’s Office on relevant information towards recovering public funds.
In an era of digital technology, Mr Dame urged the Audit Service to embrace digitisation across its district and regional offices to enhance operations.
He lauded the Service for initiating an “Audit Implementation System”- a digital platform that reduces human intervention in auditing.
He said when fully implemented, the system would facilitate the data handling of auditors and significantly improve service delivery.