He said Article 187(5) of the Constitution mandates the Auditor-General to submit his report to Parliament and draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited adding that Section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) clearly indicates that reports on special audits and reviews, as the one conducted in respect of the COVID-19 transactions, are subject to the requirement for the Auditor-General to submit the reports to Parliament.
Auditor-General's publication of COVID-19 expenditure report unconstitutional — AG
The publication of the audit report on the government's expenditure of COVID-19 funds is premature and unconstitutional, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godred Dame has said.
He further explained that Article 187(6) of the Constitution requires that Parliament must then debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint, where necessary and in the public interest, a committee to deal with any matters arising from it.
Godfred Dame in a letter to the Auditor-General Johnson Akuamoah-Asiedu said Article 187(5) of the Constitution mandates the Auditor-General to submit his report to Parliament and in that report, draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited.
According to him, "I observe that the report of the special audit on the Government's COVID-19 transactions has been published on the website of the Audit Service. In light of the constitutional provisions pertaining to the duty of the Auditor-General after the preparation of audit reports, I consider a publication of the COVID-19 audit report or indeed any audit report particularly when the same has not been either considered by Parliament or referred to a committee of Parliament, premature."
The Auditor General in its COVID-19 expenditure for the period March 2020 to June 2022 report revealed that a total of GH¢11,750,683,059.11 was expended by the government during COVID-19.
The special audit report has been prepared under Section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) for submission to Parliament.
It detailed the various expenditure made by Ministries, Departments, and Agencies.
The Auditor-General, the government paid over $120m to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) but only $38m worth was delivered.
The A-G stated that section 83 of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) requires the head of the procurement entity to convene a Board of Survey comprising representatives of departments with obsolete stores which shall report on the items and subject to a technical report on them, recommend the best method of disposal.
The report noted that 1,022,348 doses of vaccines received at the National Cold Room and issued to user facilities had expired in the various Districts and Regions.
"On COVID-19 activities, we noted that GH¢8,658,496,124.96 was spent in 2020, GH¢3,084,311,725.45 in 2021, and GH¢7,875,208.70 in 2022 to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Ghana," the A-G said in a report on the audit of the Government of Ghana COVID-19 expenditure.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, James Klutse Avedzi has defended the Auditor General for publishing the special audit on the government's COVID-19 expenditure despite the Attorney-General's disagreement with the auditors publishing the report.
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