The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame to withdraw his letter to the Auditor General, Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu.
According to the NDC, Mr Dame’s letter to Mr Asiedu over the publication of the report on the Special Audit of COVID-19 expenditures of the Government of Ghana for the period March 2020 to June 2022 was unconstitutional.
In the said letter, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice described it as “premature” attempts by the Auditor General to publish reports before they were considered by parliament after scrutiny.
According to the Attorney General, the Auditor General has a duty by way of constitutional mandate to submit his report to Parliament, while parliament was consequentially obligated to debate and scrutinise same.
Mr Dame also indicated that it was a constitutional requirement for the Auditor General’s reports to be submitted to Parliament.
“It is the subsequent debate by Parliament thereon and conclusion of work by the appropriate committee of Parliament, that the report of the Auditor General may be considered final and relevant action may be taken thereon,” he explained.
“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,” he added.
In view of the fact that the Auditor General’s report on the government’s transaction of the Covid-19 has not been officially satisfied by parliament, the A-G called for its withdrawal.
However, the NDC has condemned the action of the Attorney General, saying it amounted to interference and intrusion into the mandate of the Auditor-General.
A statement signed by the Communication Officer of the party, Mr Sammy Gyamfi said: “We need not remind the Attorney-General that Article 187(7)(a) of the 1992 Constitution guarantees the independence of the Auditor-General.
“We demand that the Attorney-General, Godfred Yeboah Dame, immediately withdraws his unconstitutional and distasteful letter forthwith and cease from any further intrusion into the mandate of the Auditor-General,” he demanded
According to him, the aforesaid Act explicitly provided that “the Auditor-General in the performance of his duties, is not subject to the direction or control of any person or authority”.
Mr Gyamfi alleged that as the principal government legal advisor, Mr Dame was worried by the putrefying rot that has been uncovered by the Auditor-General’s report.
“However, we cannot help the fears of the Attorney-General who has to be reminded in very clear terms that the Auditor-General’s fidelity is to the laws of this country and not him,” he stated emphatically.
The Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) confers power and responsibility on the Auditor-General to carry out special audits, as has been conducted into the COVID-19 expenditures by the government.
For the purpose of clarity, section 16 of Act 584 provides that “The Auditor-General may in addition to the audit of public accounts, carry out in the public interest any necessary special audits or reviews and shall submit reports on the audits or review so undertaken to Parliament”.
Sammy Gyamfi stated, “It is worthy of note that, Section 23 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (ACT 584) mandates the Auditor-General to publish reports of audits as soon as the reports have been presented to the Speaker of Parliament”.
He, therefore, added that “Auditor General’s special Audit report on the COVID-19 expenditures of the Akufo-Addo/Bawumia government was in strict conformity with the law”.
He added that the age-long practice of publication of audit reports by the Auditor General was a legal imperative and conforms to the principles of probity, transparency and accountability.
“It is through such publications that the good people of Ghana, in whom sovereignty resides, are able to appreciate discussions and debates on audit reports by their representatives in Parliament,” he added
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