The Auditor-General, Mr. Richard Quartei Quartey, has warned that the Audit Service risks collapsing if the government agency is not adequately resourced with funding and other basic working tools to carry out their duties.
In his transmittal letter to the Speaker and Members of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) about the 2013 audited report of the MDAs, excerpts of which was read by the Vice Chairman of the Committee, Samuel Atta Akyea, at a sitting on Thursday, the Auditor-General complained bitterly about the austere conditions under which his men had to carry out their duties without funding.
He cautioned that such situations may dent the image of the Audit Service with the public likely to lose interest in their auditing services as an institution.
“As Parliament proceeds to deliberate upon this report, I would like to draw the Speaker and Members attention that the audit of governmental and public institutions generally in 2013 was conducted under austere conditions that have been very tasking for my institution”.
“It is my fervent wish that Honourable Members will take not that my staff were compelled out of their goodwill to use their own salaries and personal resources to finance the auditing activities, in expectation that they would be reimbursed, but my office did not receive the relevant funds from the Ministry of Finance to effect such reimbursement to the officers”.
“Mr. Speaker, I have, in line with modern and emerging auditing trends and evolving international auditing standards introduced new auditing methodologies whose auditing implementation and practice require requisite training, sustained monitoring and evaluation effort, including intensified quality assurance to ensure effectiveness in practice”.
“The introduction of GIFMIS has also required that my staff should obtain specialized IT training and be provided with relevant tools to audit this computerized platform. I am however constrained in this drive because my office has not received the necessary budgetary resources from the Ministry of Finance even though funds were approved for these purposes”.
“I must caution that given these circumstances, if the auditing function is not supported with adequate resources, there may come a time when the government or public sector auditor’s independence and integrity might be at risk and the tax payer and others with stakeholder interest in our function and reports may not be assured of our auditing services as an institution”.
“This would be as a result of poor funding and the lack of incentive and basic working tools as well as the enabling environment for professionalization of our institution and services leading to inability to adhere to international standards and work ethics that would produce the best effort in my staff”, he noted.
Atta Akyea worried about the complaint made by the Auditor General told Hon. Rashid Pelpuo, a Minister of State at the Office of the President to send the information to his superiors, especially, the President John Dramani Mahama.
Mr. Pelpuo had appeared before the Committee on behalf of the Chief of Staff to answer to some infractions raised by the Auditor-General in his 2011, 2012 and 2013 audited accounts of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).
Hon. Atta Akyea told Kasapafmonline.com on the sidelines of the PAC sitting that the issues raised by the Auditor General is very damning and indicting on the government.
He said if adequate funds are not released to the Auditor General to perform his duties, “then corruption will be entrenched and this also points to the fact that the government is not interested in probity, accountability and transparency”.
“It is a lip service that we always pay in the fight against corruption. If adequate funds are not released to the Auditor General, their activities will be grounded”.
“If we want good governance, then probity, accountability and transparency should be taken very serious. Those that the constitution has mandated to render certain services on behalf of the State, they should be given enough funds to carry out their duties. This should be our priority as a nation and it will plug all the loopholes that that some people are using to steal government funds. If we have an effective and functioning Auditor General, those people will engaged in white colour crime will bring their activities to a halt”, he noted.