A six-member Audit Committee for each of the 26 municipal and district assemblies in the Eastern Region have been inaugurated in Koforidua the Eastern regional capital.
The Audit Committees, who have mandatory, advisory and supporting roles, would provide assessment of whether or not scarce public resources were responsibly and effectively managed by public institutions in the region.
The Audit Committees led by the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Dr Oduro Osae swore the Oath of Office and Secrecy.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Seth Acheampong, who addressed them stated that the inauguration was timely because it would help to avert the current happenings at the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), where some institutions that appeared before it were referred to the police for arrests and possible prosecution.
He expressed worry over situations where some assemblies and public institutions consistently appeared before the PAC when they could put in control measures to avert such situations.
Mr Acheampong further noted that some assemblies refused to take immediate action on recommendations made in their management letters and hence have been captured in the Auditor’s General reports, leading to their appearance at the PAC.
“Some have weak internal controls and poor risk management practice, as well as grossly violating the laws to suit your whims and caprice,” he said.
He stated that as audit committees established in various assemblies as required by the Public Financial Management Act, Act 2016(Act 921), they should help and support the assemblies to strengthen transparency and accountability in the assemblies and in the service.
“There is no doubt that from today you are being assigned huge responsibilities to pursue the implementation of recommendations of audit reports of your respective assemblies,” he said.
He charged the committees to equip themselves with relevant laws and bring their professional knowledge to bear on the work of the committee to enable them contribute to timely delivery of assigned functions.
Mr Acheampong also charged them to uphold a high sense of confidentiality, be firm, resolute, sincere, independent and honest in the discharge of their duties.
He said as public officers, it was their responsibility to protect the public purse and be accountable to the people.
For his part, the Director of Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Dr Oduro Osae said it was worrying to have audit committees at the various assemblies and public institutions, but have leadership of the assemblies and public institutions constantly appearing before the PAC for the wrong reasons.
He said the situation could only happen when either the leadership of the assemblies and public institution were not implementing recommendations given by the audit committees, or the audit committees were not doing their work well.
FROM AMA TEKYIWAA AMPADU AGYEMAN, KOFORIDUA