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Occupy Ghana mounts pressure for Auditor-General to enforce disallowance and surcharge powers

BY: Graphic.com.gh
Occupy Ghana mounts pressure for Auditor-General to enforce disallowance and surcharge powers
Occupy Ghana mounts pressure for Auditor-General to enforce disallowance and surcharge powers

Pressure group, Occupy Ghana has mounted pressure on the Auditor-General to enforce his powers of disallowance and surcharge.

In a second letter dated July 1, 2022, addressed to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, OccupyGhana demanded confirmation of receipt of any disallowance and surcharge certificate issued by the Auditor-General.

The group argued that it had earlier written to the Attorney-General on the same matter and has not received a response.

In the letter which was copied to the Auditor-General, the Executive Secretary, Right to Information Commission, and the Information Officer, Office of the Attorney-General & Ministry of Justice and the media, OccupyGhana also demanded that the Attorney-General should provide evidence of steps taken to enforce the demands in the certificate.

OccupyGhana also expressed concern over the failure of the Attorney-General to either acknowledge receipt of their letter or supply the information they requested.

They have, therefore, entreated the Attorney-General to provide them with the issues they raised in their letter, demanding confirmation of receipt of any disallowance and surcharge certificate issued by the Auditor-General, as well as to provide evidence of steps taken to enforce the demands in the certificate.

Occupy Ghana's letter

30 June 2022

The Executive Secretary
Right to Information Commission
Accra

Dear Sir:

RIGHT TO INFORMATION REQUEST

OccupyGhana is a good governance pressure group, registered as a guarantee company under the laws of the Republic of Ghana, and all of whose members and executive are citizens of Ghana.

In 2016, Parliament passed the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) to ‘to regulate the financial management of the public sector within a macroeconomic and fiscal framework, to define responsibilities of persons entrusted with the management and control of public funds, assets, liabilities and resources, to ensure that public funds are sustainable and consistent with the level of public debt, to provide for accounting and audit of public funds and to provide for related matters.’

In line with this preamble, section 85(2) of Act 921 imposed an obligation on the Attorney General to, upon the release of the Auditor-General’s Annual Reports and recommendations of Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee, take action and submit an annual report on the status of any such action to the Finance Minister, Auditor-General and Parliament.

Additionally, the Supreme Court has affirmed the Attorney-General’s obligation to take action on the Auditor-General’s reports in OCCUPYGHANA v ATTORNEY-GENERAL [2017-2018] 2 SCLRG 527 at 568, as follows: ‘the Attorney-General is hereby ordered to take all necessary steps to enforce the decisions or steps taken by the Auditor-General supra to ensure compliance including in some cases criminal prosecutions.’

On 30 June 2021, we wrote a letter (ref OG/2021/002) to the Office of the Attorney-General requesting information on whether or not the Office had complied with section 85(2) of Act 921. However, the Office ignored this request. On 7 June 2022, we wrote a follow up letter (ref OG/2022/008) to the Office, which has also been ignored.

As citizens of Ghana, we are interested in ascertaining whether these demands of the Act and the orders of the Supreme Court are being met. We therefore request, in line with article 21(1)(f) of the Constitution and section 18 of the Right to Information Act, 2019 (Act 989), that the Commission compels the Attorney-General to make available to us:
(1) a list of all actions or steps that the Attorney-General has taken since:

(a) 2016 when Act 921 was passed, and

(b) 2017 when the Supreme Court decision was made;

(2) the status of all such actions or steps as at the date of this letter, and

(3) copies of:

(a) the annual reports that the Attorney-General has submitted in line with section 85(2) of Act 921, and

(b) actions and processes taken pursuant to the Supreme Court decision.

We would appreciate it if the information is delivered to us in hard copy and/or electronic form, and we are happy to provide the necessary computer drives for the electronic format.

We have attached copies of our letters dated 30 June 2021 and 7 June 2022 requesting the above information from the Attorney-General for your ease of reference.

We look forward to receiving the information requested.

Yours in the service of God and Country,


OccupyGhana

Enc.

cc. Attorney-General & Minister of Justice
Office of the Attorney General & Ministry of Justice
Accra

Speaker of Parliament
Parliament House
Accra

Minister for Finance
Accra

Auditor-General
Accra

The Information Officer
Office of the Attorney General & Ministry of Justice
Accra