Tension brews between Auditor-General, Audit Service Board
Bad blood is brewing between the Auditor-General and the Audit Service Board. The two sides are trading allegations and counter-allegations, resulting in both writing separate petitions to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.
The Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo, in a petition dated July 27, 2018, and addressed to the President, indicated among others that the Audit Service Board and its Chairperson, Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman, were interfering in his line of work.
However, a counter-petition dated August 6, 2018, signed by all members of the Audit Service Board and their chairperson and addressed to the President, accused the Auditor-General of disregarding laid down procedures in the discharge of his duties.
Mr Domelevo claims the board and its chairperson interfere with audit process, unlawfully circulating audit observation and manipulating procurement processes.
Describing the interference from the board and its chairperson as unlawful and in “violations of his constitutional mandate,” Mr Domelevo is accordingly pleading with the President to intervene in the matter.
The Auditor-General is accusing Prof. Agyeman and the other board members of clothing themselves with non-existent powers in their bid to control him unconstitutionally.
“The Chairman and his allies are clothing themselves with powers to direct and control me unconstitutionally and this must stop. I have, therefore, served them with a notice that I will not obey any unlawful instructions from the Board, including existing and new decisions that are inconsistent with the Constitution as stated supra,” Mr Domelevo stated.
He cited an instance when he wrote to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) for approval to do restricted tendering in accordance with Section 38 of the Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663).
He alleged, however, that the board chair instructed two of his subordinates, namely Mr Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, Deputy Auditor-General and Mr Ebenezer Aglomasa, a procurement officer “to replace the approved firms with his choice” after approval was obtained from the PPA.
“This was done without my knowledge and without going back to the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) to change the list originally approved,” the letter stated and claimed that: “the Chairman admitted to the offence with the excuse that the law did not exist during his tenure of office as Auditor-General.”
The Auditor-General also accused Prof. Agyeman of holding a meeting with another Deputy Auditor-General, Blessed Baffuor-Atta, and others, to discuss the audit of metropolitan municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) liabilities without his knowledge.
“The DAG showed me a letter inviting the Chairman in his capacity as the Chairman of the Audit Service Board to that meeting," he stated.
According to Mr Domelevo, when he questioned the chairman where his mandate to audit in the Public Service and the reasons for calling the DAG to that meeting without his knowledge emanated from, the response he had was that “he thought the audit in question was below my level as the Auditor-General”.
In another instance, the Auditor-General said Prof. Agyeman interfered in the work of the Audit Service by instructing a Deputy Auditor-General, Mrs Roberta Assiamah-Appiah, to invite an audit team conducting special audit at the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to a meeting while he (Mr Domelevo) was away in Kigali, Rwanda on official duties.
Denying the allegations in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra on Wednesday, Prof. Agyeman accused Mr Domelevo of not cooperating with the board.
“We tried to meet to resolve all our differences but he cancelled the planned meeting without our knowledge,” the board chair alleged.
He also denied allegations that he was manipulating procurement processes at the Ghana Audit Service and further explained that with regard to the NHIA issue, “the NHIA accounts had been audited from 2007 to 2015. I only made enquiries on why it was being audited again following a complaint from the NHIA.”
With regard to the allegations on the audit of MMDAs, Prof. Agyeman explained that Mr Baffour-Atta was in charge of local accounts and that the audit was only to verify claims from contractors before payment was effected.
According to Prof. Agyeman, an amount of GH¢1.6 million was released for the audit of the MMDA accounts but the Auditor-General, who had earlier agreed to the audit, “asked us to return the money to the Consolidated Fund on the grounds that he will conduct the audit his own way.”
Asked if the board could work with the Auditor-General considering the bad blood, Prof. Agyeman said: “We want to work with him but he says he cannot take instructions from us. He travels without our knowledge.”
Meanwhile, the Daily Graphic has intercepted an August 6, 2018 letter signed by Prof. Agyeman and other members of the Audit Service Board, which reported the conduct of the Auditor-General to the President.
Some of the accusations include the Auditor-General’s refusal to notify the board of his official trips abroad, his penchant for making public statements that were sometimes embarrassing to the Audit Service and inimical to the safety of staff of the Audit Service; publication and distribution of Audit Reports without recourse to the board as prescribed by law and lack of accountability and transparency.
The board members are also accusing Mr Domelevo of not recognising their role and procuring vehicles for the Audit Service without following due process.
“The Auditor-General has stated emphatically that he is not answerable to the board and will ignore decisions of the board. This attitude is unhealthy and will affect the efficiency of the administration of the service. The board, therefore, wishes to formally make this report to you and for your attention,” the letter pointed out.
Other signatories to the letter are Nana Kwasi Agyekum-Dwamena, Dennis K. Y. Vormawor, James Frempong, Joyce Opoku-Boateng and Emmanuel M. Owusu-Ansah.