Audit Service Board Chairman Hunts Staff With Private Audit Firms In The Middle Of Crucial Audits

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The Auditor-General, Daniel Yao Domelevo, has described as illegal attempts by the Audit Service, to engage the services of a private accounting firm to audit the foreign travels of management at the office of the Auditor-General.

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It is not clear, if the contract to K&A Accounting Services, has met the requirement of the procurement laws. But the terms of reference shows that the Board Chairman, Prof Edward Dua Agyeman, who is in the office of the Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo-Marfo, is pursuing something to nail somebody or a group of persons at Audit Service.

Many of the staff, who are auditing government accounts, have been reported to have identified many corrupt practices by some government appointees, and suspicion is that this request is a clandestine attempt to shut them up and get to do what the Akufo-Addo government wants; cover up the rots and deny Ghanaians accountability into the use of public funds.

Auditor-General, Mr Domelevo, himself had already been sent home by the government through the machinations of President Akufo-Addo himself on a claim of accumulated leave, and concerns raised by the civil society organizations against the President’s stance was rebutted by his executive secretary, Nana Bediatuo Asante.

This came, while Mr. Domelevo was fighting to retrieve a whopping US$1 million payment made to Kroll Associate by Yaw Osafo-Marfo for the work done.

Documents sighted by The Herald revealed that the Audit Service Board led by Prof Dua Agyeman, had requested the Auditor-General and the Deputy Auditors-General to submit reports to the Board in 14 days of return after traveling outside for official duties, but the officials had failed to do so.

Subsequently, the Board appointed a private company K&A Accounting Services to audit the foreign travels of the Management Staff from 2017 to 2020 and issue reports to the Board in accordance with an attached term of reference, reports on foreign travels from 2017-2020 for the Auditor-General and the six Deputy Auditors-General.

A document signed by Prof Dua Agyeman said that audits should be conducted in accordance with relevant laws and international standards.

It said the audit should draw attention to any internal control weaknesses, the causes and effects of the weaknesses and actions recommended to rectify the situation to improve cash management, K&A Accounting Services must “specify if funds of the Service have been used only for the intended purpose of the official travels”.

“Ensure that appropriate supporting documents and records relating to all the travels have been kept, adding all significant cases of irregularities that might become apparent during the audit should be adequately investigated and details reported upon”.

“Any other information arising out of the audit considered to be relevant should be reported upon”, the terms said.

It further directed K&A to specifically, pay attention to the “purpose of each trip whether for normal audit work, whether the trip was upon invitation; total cost of each travel broken down into, cost of the ticket, total per diem, total imprest and whether the imprest was retired; and any other amount given and specify the purpose.

But in a response to the Board, Auditor-General said the appointment of the accounting firm is a violation of Articles 187(15) of the constitution which provided that “the accounts of the office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an auditor appointed by parliament.

The Auditor-General also said the mandate of the Audit Service Board is circumscribed by Article 189 of the constitution that is the board in consultation with public service commission (a) appoints staff other than the Auditor-General, (b) determines the terms and conditions of service of the staff, and (c) by constitutional instrument, makes regulations for the effective and efficient administration of the Audit Service.

Advancing more arguments why the audit is not grounded in law, the Auditor-General also clarified that:

1. Article 189 of the Constitution does not mandate the Audit Service Board to commission audits – consequently, the accounting firm so appointed lacks the mandate to audit, review or examine documents and /or records relating to the accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General.

2. The appointment is inconsistent with and violates several legislations including Section 16 of the Audit Service Act 2000, Regulation 6 of the Audit Service Regulations 2011, Section 25(3) of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, and Sections 14, 15,16, 21, 66(3) among others of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (as amended); and the payment of audit fees and any related expenses resulting from this appointment may not be a lawful charge against public funds.

Already, K&A Accounting Services has acknowledged receipt of your letter from the Audit Board and has expressed its acceptance of the offer to carry on with the audit.

But Mr. Domelevo, says he has “no difficulty if auditors are appointed (at any time) in accordance with the constitution to audit the accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General.”

“It is of utmost importance that we obey the laws of this country and I will ensure compliance at all times”, he added.

~~ The Herald Ghana

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