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Upper East, North East audit committees inaugurated

BY: Gilbert Mawuli Agbey
Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, speaking at the event
Stephen Yakubu, the Upper East Regional Minister, speaking at the event

A joint ceremony has been held to inaugurate audit committees for municipal and district assemblies (MDAs) and regional coordinating councils (RCCs) for the Upper East and North East regions, with a call on them to fully consider and implement recommendations in the Auditor-General’s report.

The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, who made the call, said “considering the annual financial reports of the AG will prevent a repetition of all audit queries and financial infractions in subsequent years.”

He said the recent report of the AG cited a number of infractions and breaches of the Public Financial Management Act, which led to huge unaccounted for government funds at the expense of the taxpayer in various MDAs.

“These infractions were attributable to the failure by MDAs to fully comply with and implement the recommendations in the annual audit report, resulting in the loss of government funds which could have been channelled into other sectors of the economy for the growth of the country,” Mr Yakubu said.

A total of 115 members drawn from 15 MDAs in the Upper East and five MDAs in the North East regions were jointly sworn into office in Bolgatanga to serve on the various audit committees for a two-year term.

 A section of the audit committee members

Mr Yakubu expressed worry that financial advice on the internal audit agency’s recommendations annually were ignored by management and staff of MDAs, saying: “I therefore, urge metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) to pay critical attention to audit recommendations to protect the nation’s scarce financial resources.”

“I wish to call on MMDCEs and other management staff of MMDAs to pay particular attention to details in every document put before them to sign, so as to be able to defend them when queried by auditors,” he stated.

He said “if we were to ensure judicious use of government resources by reducing to the barest minimum avoidable infractions always captured in the AG’s report annually, then audit committees must play a key role towards achieving it.”

He further tasked the RCCs to intensify their supervisory and monitoring roles towards ensuring that both government and donor funds were judiciously utilised by the MMDAs to ensure value for money.

Poorest regions

Mr Yakubu said the wanton mismanagement of public funds over the years, especially in the five northern regions, had heightened the suffering of the ordinary people, adding that, “this has resulted in the regions in the north being considered as the poorest in the country.”

He further called on the staff of the district assemblies to put in their best to improve the conditions in the north for the ultimate benefit of the people, noting that “this will help change the long-held poverty tag of the northern part of Ghana.”

He warned that the RCC would not countenance any form of financial malfeasance and that workers caught engaging in such acts will be severely sanctioned to make it unattractive to others.

For his part, the Director in charge of Operations at the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Nathan Yankey, urged members of the audit committees to put their expertise and experiences together in the discharge of their duties, to ensure that the public funds were put to good use.