Today, being international anti-corruption day, I will appeal to Parliament to amend the Constitution to get rid of the Audit Service Board (Article 189).
The Auditor General is an independent body that reports directly to and is accountable to Parliament. That is not only a sound arrangement but it is also standard practice around the world.
Article 189 creates a 7-member Audit Service Board, 5 of whom are appointed by the President in consultation with the Council of state. The Auditor General and the Head of the Civil Service (or her representative) are the other members.
This is an unsound design. The President is in charge of the executive. The primary, if not the sole, task of the Auditor General is to audit the executive department and provide an independent report of his audit to Parliament.
It is a little strange to have the auditee (i.e., the audit client) appoint the Board members of the auditor. The oddity of the requirement becomes clearer where the President appoints people currently working in institutions, including the Middle Belt Development Corporation or the Senior Ministry Office, that are audited by the Auditor General.
Even more perplexing, the Constitution requires the appointment of officers and other employees in the Audit Service (other than the Auditor-General) to be made by the Audit Service Board, acting in consultation with the Public Services Commission.
This may be the only board in the world entrusted with the responsibility of appointing employees. It is ridiculous!
Bottomline, it is irreparably absurd for the auditee to appoint a Board, which is responsible for hiring auditors for the Auditor General to audit the auditee!!! It bastardizes the notion of auditor independence.
For the same reason, it is unsound governance for the Head of the Civil Service, an auditee, to sit on the Audit Service Board.
In my opinion, the Auditor General and his deputies should constitute the governing board of the Auditor General, with reporting responsibilities to the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.
Happy anti-corruption day and remember when you pay to play you enable plutocracy, polycracy, kakistocracy and kleptocracy.
Author: Professor Kwaku Asare