The Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, has directed State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to urgently collaborate with the Auditor-General’s Department to clear the backlog of unaudited accounts by end of this year.
She also tasked them to work with the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) to prepare management responses to audit queries and red flags raised by auditors in the 2021 Audit Infractions Joint Report.
Mrs Osei-Opare said this when she received the report from SIGA and the office of the Auditor General, on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in Accra yesterday.
The President at a meeting of Board Chairpersons and CEOs of Specified Entities on October 3, 2022 charged SIGA and the Auditor-General, to investigate the causes of infractions of Specified Entities cited in the 2021 Audit Report and to make recommendations as prescribed by law.
In consultation with the Auditor-General, the Director-General of SIGA constituted a Technical Committee comprising professionals from SIGA, Auditor-General’s Office and the Public Enterprises Secretariat to undertake the assignment.
Mrs Osei-Opare charged the SOEs to keep an updated Asset Register and land title registrations at all times and to mainstream appropriate implementation measures to carry out the recommendations detailed.
The SOEs, she said, were to prioritise the preparation of their respective management and audited accounts in a timely manner to ensure smooth auditing.
She reminded management of Specified Entities that the payment of monitoring fees was mandatory, as SIGA required those funds to effectively carry out its mandate.
“To SIGA, I am informed of certain inconsistencies in your Act which is posing challenges to the discharge of your mandate. I assure you that your request to Cabinet is seriously considered,” she added.
Minister of Public Enterprises, Joseph Cudjoe, reiterated that without the appropriate implementation and application of the recommendations detailed in “this report, all our hard-work will prove futile.”
He urged all board members and management of Specified Entities, and all other relevant stakeholders to take the findings of the report seriously as “we will not hesitate to impose sanctions when necessary.”
The Director General, SIGA, Edward Boateng said, the Technical Committee identified the lack of effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation on the part of the CEOs and heads of finance; procurement irregularities and poor risk management as the cause of the infractions.
He said the committee also found the misapplication and misappropriation of Funds for which the defaulters have to be sanctioned; poor collaboration with auditors and late / non-release of subventions (liquidity challenges).
As such, Mr Boateng said the committee had recommended that the Specified Entities held trainings on the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) and other regulations.
“Thorough implementation of audit findings by management and Boards should take an interest,” he added.
Mr Boateng said sanctions should be imposed if the committee’s recommendations were not executed within the specified timeframes.
BY ABIGAIL ARTHUR