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We’ll continue to make huge savings for country - Audit Service assures

BY: Joshua Bediako Koomson
The Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman
The Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman

The Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, has given an assurance that the service will continue to provide solutions to ensure significant financial savings for the country.

He noted that over the years, the service had remained dedicated to sustaining its impact by ensuring that for every money spent by the government on the service, profit was generated from it.

“The Audit Service is determined that every GH¢1 that the government spends on it will be turned around to save GH¢5 for the country,” he said.

2020 Audit year

Speaking at the launch of the 2020 Financial Year Audits by the Audit Service last Tuesday, Prof. Agyeman said the evidence of such a claim was in the savings made by the service, as reported in the various reports of the Auditor-General.

The launch set the tone for external auditors from the Audit Service to commence auditing the financial statements of public institutions across the country.

Main challenge

Prof. Dua Agyeman, who launched the 2020 Audit Year, noted that the main challenges of the service were the issuance of the disallowance and surcharge certificates by the Auditor-General and the administration of the Assets and Liabilities Declaration Form by public officeholders.

He recounted that last year, the Auditor-General proceeded to issue certificates to a number of people, who subsequently and successfully appealed in the courts and set aside the disallowances and surcharges imposed on them.

That, he said, resulted in the courts imposing on the Auditor-General costs and substantial interest charges, amounting to causing financial loss to the state.

“It turned out that the attempted cure was worse than the disease. I hope that the Audit Service will address these challenges in the coming years,” he said.

Background

Following the Supreme Court ruling in the OccupyGhana versus Attorney-General case, a number of disallowances and surcharges were issued.

However, the affected entities appealed in the courts against the Auditor-General’s decisions and successfully set aside the disallowances and surcharges imposed on them.

Among the entities are Joshob Construction Co. Ltd., M/S Arch Adwo Company Limited, Sylvester Mensah & Another and Zoomlion Ghana Limited.

According to the Audit Service, in the case involving Joshob Construction, the High Court, Probate and Administration Division, on April 18, 2018 gave judgment in favour of the judgment creditor in respect of the Auditor-General’s decision of January 23, 2018 on disallowance and surcharge affecting appellant’s claim for GH¢11.77 million.

Also, the Ministry of Finance and/or Urban Roads and/or Controller and Accountant-General were ordered to pay the full amount to the appellant and awarded costs of GH¢5,000 against the respondent.

Additionally, there were a post-judgment interest at the commercial bank rate on the judgment debt and costs from 18/04/18 to the date of final payment and a judgment debt of GH¢11.77 million.

On M/S Arch Adwo Company Limited, the court granted an appeal and made some reliefs, which included the decision of the respondent on disallowance and surcharge affecting applicant’s claim being reversed.

With that of Sylvester Mensah & Another, it was an appeal by the appellants against the notice of specification and certification of disallowance and/or surcharge served on them by the respondent, the Auditor-General.

The appellants were granted reliefs by the court to set aside the audit findings necessitating the notice of specification and certification of disallowance and surcharge by the Auditor-General on the appellants.

The court further set aside the notice of specification and certification of disallowance and/or surcharge by the Auditor-General on the appellants.

Consequent to the appeal being granted, the court ordered that the audit findings necessitating the notice of specification and certification of disallowance and surcharge by the Auditor-General on the appellants be set aside.

In the more recent Zoomlion Ghana Limited vs A-G, the Auditor-General conducted an audit of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) and made findings that Zoomlion Ghana Limited had, between 2007 and 2018, been paid GH¢184.9 million for a fumigation exercise it carried out for the Ministry of Health, which was found to be improper.