Ghana Audit Service beats African peers for coveted prize
For the second time in a row, the Ghana Audit Service has won the best performance audit report of the English-Speaking African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI-E).
The Audit Service’s report dubbed: ‘Fleet Management of the National Ambulance Service’ was awarded the prize yesterday at the AFROSAI-E Strategic Review & 19th Governing Board Meeting in Accra.
The Auditor General of Sweden, Helena Lindberg, who announced the prize, said the winning audit report revealed problems with conflicts of interest, inefficiency, malfunction and arbitrariness in the use of payments.
The purpose of the audit, she said, was to ascertain whether measures put in place by the National Ambulance Service to manage its fleet were sustainable and provided a responsive medical service when needed.
“The report has a clear and logical structure, from audit scope and questions to criteria, findings and recommendations, and is well written so please join me in celebrating the Ghana Audit Service for their excellent work and for succeeding to maintain such a high quality in your work which you have proven by winning the award now for the second time in a row,” she said.
Ms Lindberg reminded the gathering of auditors from across the continent that the key in achieving their assignments was their independence, although independence rarely happened to a supreme audit institution by accident.
As a result, he said, auditors needed to excel in their own accountability and transparency to the stakeholders they served by demonstrating why they did their work, how they did it and that they did it well.
“Although, committed leaders are key in driving a positive change, it can be discouraging, and perhaps impossible, for individual heads of SAIs to succeed alone in getting the message about independence through,” she said.
The Auditor General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, said the public was becoming more interested in audit results and auditors must, therefore, exhibit a high level of professionalism in the discharge of their assignments.
“It is imperative that we exhibit a high level of professionalism through the application of relevant Auditing Standards in the discharge of audit assignments.
In our work environment, managing relations with auditees requires an even higher degree of commitment, impartiality, and diligence,” he said.
He said auditors must obtain and understand information relevant to the audit in order to make sound recommendations based on facts and known circumstances.
“Make informed decisions out of views held by auditees and other audit team members, be sensitive to the integrity of information, including the source of the information and the appropriateness of its presentation,” he said.
Mr Asiedu added that auditors must withhold judgements pending thoughtful consideration of all known and relevant facts and be alert to potential bias and other impediments in the exercise of professional judgements.
“Have the ability and willingness to stand firm on your grounds when faced with pressure to do otherwise,” he said.
The Auditor General added that auditors must embrace technology to improve their understanding of the audit universe, especially how to respond to a crisis, and how, as members of AFROSAI-E, they could benefit from cooperation within their community to overcome challenges.
“It is a known fact that the COVID-19 crisis has tested our ability to adapt and use technological tools at our disposal,” he said.
The Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman, told the Daily Graphic in an interview that at an inaugural meeting of all AFROSAI-E Auditors-General which took place in Swakopmund, Namibia, in May 2004, the statues of the organisation were adopted and the first governing board of the new organisation was elected.
He said the name of the organisation was unanimously approved as AFROSAI- E, after struggling to find where to put the letter “E”, whether to put it before AFROSAI followed by (-) or after AFROSAI followed by a (-).
Eventually, he said, the members settled on English-speaking to prefix AFROSAI.
“So, in that year, 2004, I was elected the chairman of the Regional Training Committee of AFROSAI-E to replace Mr. A.E. Harid, the then Auditor General of Zimbabwe, who retired that year and also the chairman of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Regrouping of AFROSAI-E,” he said.