Auditor-General’s Report Missing

Parliament cannot trace the whereabouts of a 2011 report submitted by Richard Q. Quartey, Auditor-General since June, this year on the financial stewardship of government Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs). An attempt by Albert Kan Dapaah, chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to get the august House to lay the report about a fortnight ago was greeted with a big ‘I don’t know’ from Doe Adjaho, First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, who indicated that he was not aware of the submission of such report to the Speaker. According to reports, the Speaker of Parliament traveled outside the country at the time the issue cropped up and has still not returned. After submitting the report in June, Mr Quartey complained bitterly about the refusal of MDAs and MMDAs to duly submit their financial statements to his outfit for auditing. According to him, the unwillingness of the MDAs to submit their financial statements for auditing had created ‘an expectation gap’ that has not been filled since 2003 when Act 654 was passed. Furthermore, he disclosed that the 2011 report he submitted to Parliament was replete with negative occurrences, adding that the report must be submitted six months after the end of the year. Reports suggest leaders of the august House are deliberately dilly-dallying with the report in order to prevent the discovery of skeletons in the cupboard of MDAs and MMDAs which are headed by government appointees. The Auditor-General said anytime auditors unearth malpractices and other breaches of the country’s financial regulations, auditee management committees handle the issues with kids’ gloves making the offenders to often go unpunished. Additionally, he noted that the audit finding sometimes receives no attention from the seat of government. Such apathetical attitude, he emphasized, continued to encourage the perpetuation of malpractices and irregularities in the public financial management. “When the offenders are not within the audited entity, but are third parties that transact business with the entity, auditee staff sometimes collaborate with the third party and try to cover up the offence.” The inability of MDAs and MMDAs to establish audit report implementation committees as required by Section 30 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 leads to the consequent perpetration of various internal control weaknesses and other irregularities in the public financial management system, he said. This is about the second time this issue has been raised this year.