The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi has discounted assertions that no serious action is taken to either retrieve monies or punish persons indicted in reports released by the Auditor-General every year.
Financial irregularities committed by various statutory institutions in the year 2020 stood at GHS 12.8 billion, up from GHS3 billion and GHS5.5 billion in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
Some Ghanaians doubt if any sanctions will be meted out to persons indicted in the report.
But Mr. Klutse Avedzi in an interview on Face to Face on Citi TV said the Public Accounts Committee ensures that “amounts quoted by the Auditor-General are retrieved. The irregularities namely financial, tax, cash, debtors, loans, payroll, stocks and procurements, rents as well as contracts are corrected by the time these institutions appear before the Public Accounts Committee.”
“About 50% of those indicted heed to the Auditor-General’s recommendations before we sit on their cases. We report on those that do not,” he added.
He also said the committee will begin sitting on the 2020 Auditor General’s report in 2023.
Mr. Avedzi explained that “We are going to start sitting on this in 2023 because we have a backlog of 2018 and 2019 [audits to deal with]. We are going to handle that of 2018 and 2019 next year. We will do everything possible to finish with them. We are going to complete that of 2017 hopefully next week,” he added.
Audit reports could become annual rituals without sanctions
Tax Analyst and Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Law School, Dr. Abdallah Ali Nakyea has warned that the release of the Auditor-General’s report is likely to become a ritual in the coming years if the right institutions are not made to implement the recommendations captured in the reports.
“If we’ll use the proper mechanisms and get the rightful institutions that can prosecute to take it up and pursue the recovery of the monies, then we’ll be giving meaning to the audit reports. Else it will become an annual ritual, which brings nothing back into government coffers. We need the revenue that has been misapplied. If it is a loan, remember taxpayers’ money would be taken to go and pay back the loan. We shouldn’t let it be swept under the carpet, as it has always been. Because the trajectory of the years from 2016 to 2020 is showing us that we are not making any headway, except for the few that we saw a dip in 2020,” he said on The Point of View on Citi TV.