The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has described the complaints by the Auditor-General that the Board Chairman of the Audit Service is interfering in his work as troubling.
In a statement signed by the Communications Officer of the GACC, Abdul-Kudus Husein said: “We consider these developments extremely troubling and a threat to the ongoing efforts by the Audit Service to protect the public purse and promote public accountability.”
“This is why the Constitution under Article 187 (8), provides a very narrow set of circumstances for even the president to request the Auditor-General to conduct audits outside of planned audits,” the statement added.
The Coalition said it, therefore, finds “it unfortunate that Professor Dua-Agyeman, a former Auditor-General himself, credited with initiating important reforms at the Audit Service that have helped in building the institution to its current level, is the one implicated in this worrying situation”.
The GACC’s statement comes after Mr Domelevo in a letter dated July 27, 2018, petitioned him to intervene in the “unlawful interferences and violations” of his constitutional mandate by the Board Chair.
Mr Domelevo accused the Board chair of manipulating procurement processes and unlawful circulation of audit findings among other things as the basis for his request for a presidential intervention.
“I wish to bring to your attention the unlawful interferences and violations of my constitutional mandate by the Board Chairman, Prof. Edward Dua-Agyeman, and the Board of Ghana Audit Service, and respectfully request for your intervention,” Mr Domelevo's petition to the president said.
Below is the full statement of GACC:
PROTECT THE CONSTITUTIONAL INDEPENDENCE OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL
The Coalition of national civil society organisations dedicated to the fight against corruption under the umbrella of the Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has taken careful notice of a petition from the Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Domelevo to the President leaked to the media. The petition, which has been confirmed as authentic, raises concerns about activities of the Board Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua-Agyeman and members of Board, amounting to interference with the functions of the Auditor-General and in some cases represent a violation of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (Act 663). We consider these developments extremely troubling and a threat to the ongoing efforts by the Audit Service to protect the public purse and promote public accountability.
Article 187 (7) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana is very clear that in the performance of his functions the Auditor-General “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority”. Those functions include auditing the public accounts of Ghana, all public offices including universities, courts, and local assemblies.
This independence is thus essential in ensuring the Auditor-General carries his duties impartially, professionally and in pursuit of the public interest. This is why the Constitution under Article 187 (8) provides a very narrow set of circumstances for even the President to request the Auditor-General to conduct audits outside of planned audits.
The Coalition, therefore, finds it unfortunate that Professor Dua Agyeman, a former Auditor-General himself, credited with initiating important reforms at the Audit Service that has helped in building the institution to its current level is the one implicated in this worrying situation.
This scenario mirrors a number of Board – Executive impasse that has engulfed the public sector and reflect the weaknesses of our corporate governance arrangements.
Notwithstanding, this general observation, the Constitution is very clear about the limited role the Board of the Audit Service should play.
We have taken notice of the swift action of the President, once the matter became public, to investigate the matter and we urge that this task is undertaken with alacrity to ensure the ongoing work of the Auditor-General and the morale of the Service is not affected.
Finally, the Coalition wish to state unequivocally that it holds Mr. Daniel Domelevo and the staff of the Audit Service in high regard for the work they have embarked upon to ensure that our leaders are held accountable for how they utilise public resources.
If we are going to seriously achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid we need a stronger and more committed Audit Service and Auditor-General. We hope that at the end of this process we would have taken positive steps in that direction.
Yours in the service of Ghana.