Don’t bribe auditors – Auditor- General warns MDAs of punitive action when caught

The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, addressing the participants. Photo Michael Ayeh

The Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, addressing the participants. Photo Michael Ayeh

Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) “who are happy paying bribes (to auditors), instead of ensuring they do the right thing” will face punitive action if caught, the Auditor-General (AG), Daniel Domelevo has cautioned.

At the 8th Accountability Lectures and Launch of the 2017 Financial Year Audit in Accra yesterday, he said staff of the Audit Service who received such offers would not be spared.

He said “Section 33 of the Audit Service Act, 2,000(Act 584) makes it an offence  for members of the Audit Service  to demand or accept bribes or gratuity  in the conduct of their work; or willfully fail to report on abuses or regularities that come to their notice during audit.”

He said the service would enforce its code of ethics to ensure high standards of integrity in provision of audit services and therefore advised MDAs not to give any courtesies or pay anything to auditors who visit their offices to work.

The event, under the theme “Protecting the public purse-our commitment towards Ghana’s Developmental Agenda”, was to press home the need for accountability in the management of public funds.

Mr Domelevo said the service would no longer tolerate delay by the MDAs in responding to audit observations, cautioning that the service would lock the salaries of those who failed to rely within 30 days.

“And thereafter, if the MDA fails to provide the reply with the necessary supporting documents, we will disallow the expenditure and surcharge the officer concerned,” he said.

He said it was an offence under Section 33 of the Audit Service Act to obstruct audit and “We will not stop at anything to exercise our authority to bring to book MDAs that frustrate the conduct of audit.

On assets and liabilities disclosure, he said all public office holders, including presidential staffers and aides, chairpersons, managing directors, and departmental heads were to declare their asset.

Excluding the armed forces, he said any public servant whose salaries was equivalent to or above the salary of a director in the civil service or GH¢3,727 or above were required to declare their assets and liabilities.

Mr Domelevo said measures were underway to modernise the assets and liabilities declaration scheme and urged all public office holders to do as expected of them.

Kwame Sarpong, a former Chief Executive of Cocoa Board expressed satisfaction with the work of the AG so far and called for government and public support to enable him succeed.

Three former AGs; Osei Tutu Prempeh who served between 1990 and 2001; Prof Edward Duah -Agyeman who took over the mantle from 2001 to 2010 and Richard Quartey who ended his service in 2016 were awarded at the ceremony.

 

Present at the ceremony was the Vice President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia ; Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare; Chairman of the Public Account Committee  and Deputy Minority Leader of Parliament , James Avedzi.

By Jonathan Donkor

 

 

 

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