Educate govt officials on your role in corruption fight - Osafo-Maafo urges auditors
A senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, has urged the Internal Audit Agency to extend their training programmes to include Ministers of State, Chief Executive Officers and Ambassadors for them to appreciate their work in the fight against corruption.
He said oftentimes some government officials did not understand the significance of the work of internal auditors and, therefore, ended up frustrating them in their duties and that hampered the fight against corruption in the public sector.
Speaking at the 2023 annual Internal Audit Conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Osafo-Maafo said the IAA as part of its mandate, had been building the capacity of public servants on corporate governance, risk management and internal control processes, as well as educating them on their work in protecting the public purse.
He said many people with various backgrounds who were appointed to ministerial positions saw auditors as fault finders and opponents.
“Top government officials need to know that they and auditors are partners with the common goal of protecting the public purse.
“We need to remove the bias and antagonistic stance when people take up top positions,” the presidential advisor added.
The two-day conference is on the theme: “20 Years internal audit practice in Ghana: Achievements, challenges and way forward.”
The event which is being held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), is being attended by more than 1,400 internal auditors across the country.
Mr Osafo-Maafo, who is also a former Minister of Finance and was instrumental in the passage of the Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658), said the conditions of service of staff of the IAA must be reviewed to motivate and encourage them to diligently undertake their mandate.
For instance, he said it was necessary for their salaries and conditions of service to be pegged with their colleague accountants and those working in the revenue mobilisation sector.
“I will entreat the Minister of Finance and all relevant stakeholders to consider aligning the conditions of service of staff of the agency with that of the accounting and revenue class to ensure fairness and equity.
“They are sworn brothers in art; the moment one section is more attractive than the other, you are creating problems in terms of recruitment,” the senior advisor said.
He further called for a review of Act 658 to enable the IAA charge certain fees to make them more resourceful to function effectively.
Mr Osafo-Maafo, however, urged the auditors and staff of the service to eschew any professional misconduct, work diligently, and make integrity and professionalism their hallmark.
The Director-General of the IAA, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, said the agency over the years had made tremendous progress by working to reduce financial infractions in the public sector.
For instance, he said due to the work of the agency and audit committees, there was significant reduction in financial malfeasance in many public institutions as captured in the 2021-2022 Auditor General’s Report.
It included 30.6 per cent for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs); 58.6 per cent for pre-tertiary educational institutions; 39.9 per cent for technical universities and 13.8 per cent for public corporations and statutory agencies.
“Though the infractions of metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) increased by 48 per cent within the same period, steps have been put in place to address them,” he said.
Dr Osae called for the amendment of Act 658 to reposition the agency to be able to deliver effectively on its mandate.
“I wish we pass the Internal Audit Amendment Act into law before the end of 2023, so that we can improve our mechanisms to stop malfeasance, especially in 2024 which is an election year where expenditure in various sectors is expected to go up,” he added.