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.
The Audit Service Board had requested the Auditor-General and the Deputy Auditors-General to submit reports to the Board in 14 days of return after travelling outside for official duties, but the officials had failed to do so.
Subsequently, the Board appointed 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 the attached terms of reference, reports on foreign travels from 2017-2020 for the Auditor-General and the six Deputy Auditors-General.
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:
- 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.
- 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.