The Auditor General, Mr Daniel Domelevo, is calling for internal auditors to be de-linked from institutions such as the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), to assert their independence and to absolve them from manipulation and control.
That, according to him, will give credence to the independence of internal auditors, as well as make for their professional development.
Mr Domelevo, who was speaking at an anniversary lecture organised by OccupyGhana, a pressure group, in collaboration with the Audit Service in Accra yesterday, also proposed that the Director General of the service should be part of the Economic Management Team or the management team at the Ministry of Finance, to advise the minister on issues bordering on plugging financial leakages and waste.
Mr Domelevo called on the government to urgently consider the proposal since, he said, internal audit was the eye or the ear of management and must be used effectively.
“It is time we take the internal auditors away from the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) and put them in a central pool under the internal audit agency. Even in the private sector today, internal auditors are being outsourced to avoid manipulation and control.
“So, it is good we put them under the agency so that their independence and their professional development can be taken care of,” Mr Domelevo stated.
In that case, he added, we could prevent the leakage before it happened because the internal auditors were on the spot.
The lecture, which marked the occasion of a landmark court ruling by the Supreme Court in favour of OccupyGhana and ensured that the Auditor General became more proactive, was on the theme: “From Surcharging to safeguarding, next steps in the fight to protect the public purse.”
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Mr Domelevo suggested that the prosecution of corrupt cases should not be centralised to the office of the Special Prosecutor but commercialised for individuals to go to court over such cases.
“If the state is losing 100 per cent, what is wrong with making a law to say if you save us the money which has gone, we will give 20 per cent to you,” he quizzed, saying the country had a very weak internal audit in the public sector which had made internal auditors helpless while their independence had also been unduly compromised.
“I keep arguing that take an auditor’s independence away and he is useless. The most important thing about an auditor is his independence, so the independent is very important,” Mr Domelevo emphasised.
Stressing the need for state institutions, particularly anti-corruption institutions, to be well resourced, the Auditor General expressed disappointment at the manner in which institutions were set up to deliver but were rendered impotent due to lack of resources.
He was, however, happy with the support his outfit had received so far and lauded the legislature for approving the budget allocation of an amount which was about threefold, what the service used to receive.
“The executive has also been very supportive with the permission to purchase 34 new vehicles and the recruitment of 400 additional staff to the service,” he said, noting that was the practical way of fighting corruption.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who was in attendance, said having effective institutions and systems was an effective way to fight corruption.
To that end, he said the government was leveraging technology to improve transparency and accountability and catalogued interventions introduced by the government to eliminate corrupt practices.
They included the introduction of the national identity card, the digital passport application, the paperless system at the country’s ports, the e-procurement, e-justice system and the digital address systems and hinted that a new policy would be introduced at the end of the month to reinforce sanity at the ports.
Known as the ‘‘No duty, No exit’’, Dr Bawumia said the new system would ensure that all containers which exited the ports had gone through the necessary checks and the duties on them had been paid.
A Supreme Court Judge, Justice Jones Dotse, for his part, stressed the need to practicalise the laws aimed at fighting corruption.
He wondered why the country had all the good laws but they were not being enforced and asked if the problem was because of the influence of personalities.