Institute measures to eliminate financial infractions, irregularities
THE Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Eric Oduro Osae, has charged health institutions to put in place measures to eliminate infractions and irregularities in the financial management of their institutions.
He stated that 52 pages of the 212-page 2021 Auditor-General's report were on health sector institutions, thus suggesting that internal financial control systems in the health sector were weak.
Dr Osae said in addition, that the majority of the over GH¢1 billion irregularities identified in the 2021 Auditor-General's report were on health institutions.
Dr Osae gave the admonition in a speech read on his behalf at the inauguration of 21 zonal audit committees for health sector institutions under the Ghana Health Service (GHS) in the Bono, Bono East and Ahafo regions.
His speech was read by the Deputy Head of Special Investigations of the IAA, Frank Amedume.
He said the formation of audit committees was, therefore, an initiative aimed at improving internal control structures in public institutions, including the health sector, to enhance value for money.
That, according to Dr Osae, was part of provisions under the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016 (Act 921) enacted to manage risks and lessen the negative effects of financial irregularities on national development.
He said the Internal Audit Agency expected the audit committees to support internal audit units in their institutions and the internal auditors to avoid financial irregularities.
Dr Osae added that since the audit committees were very important in the governance of institutions, they required the backing of management and other stakeholders to carry out their mandate..
Lack of funding
For his part, the Ahafo Regional Director of Health, Dr Boakye Boateng, said Section 88 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) placed a responsibility on members of the audit committees to pursue the implementation of all recommendations contained in an Internal Audit Report and Parliament's decisions on the Auditor General’s report, among others.
He explained that the non-functioning of audit committees in the health service for the past years has been largely due to the lack of funding for the activities of the committees.
The Bono Regional Director of Health, Dr Kofi Amo-Kodieh, asked members of the committees to be bold in order to do what was right according to the Public Financial Management Act, Act 921.
The Director of Internal Audit of the GHS, Eric Boateng Frimpong, said the zoning of the committees meant that members had to work with more facilities and charged them to work hard to cover all institutions under their jurisdictions.He urged heads of health institutions to ensure all required reports were provided for the audit committees to make their work easy.