Uphold Auditor General’s independence - GACC

BY: Isaac Yeboah
Mr. Daniel Domelevo, Auditor General, during his swearing-in.
Mr. Daniel Domelevo, Auditor General, during his swearing-in.

The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) has expressed disquiet at the implication of the Board Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman in alleged interference with the work of the Auditor General.

Mr. Daniel Domelevo, Auditor General has petitioned President Akufo-Addo over what he says are acts amounting to interference in his work by Professor Dua Agyeman, himself a former Auditor General, and other members of Board.

In a press release calling for the independence and sanctity of the Audit Service to be upheld and strengthened, the umbrella organization for organisations dedicated to the fight against corruption said it found the developments “extremely troubling and a threat to the ongoing efforts by the Audit Service to protect the public purse and promote public accountability.”

“Article 187 (7) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana is very clear that in the performance of his functions the Auditor General ‘"shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority"’.

Read also: Auditor-General petitions Akufo-Addo over interference by board chair

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The coalition said those functions include auditing the public accounts of Ghana, all public offices including universities, courts and local assemblies and that the independence of the Auditor General is thus essential in ensuring that he carries his duties impartially, professionally and in pursuit of the public interest.

“This is why the Constitution under Article 187 (8) provides a very narrow set of circumstances for even the President to request the Auditor-General to conduct audits outside of planned audits”, said the coalition in the statement signed by the leadership of its member-associations.

“The Coalition therefore finds it unfortunate that Professor Dua Agyeman, a former Auditor General himself, credited with initiating important reforms at the Audit Service that has helped in building the institution to its current level is the one implicated in this worrying situation. This scenario mirrors a number of Board - Executive impasse that has engulfed the public sector and reflect the weaknesses of our corporate governance arrangements. Notwithstanding, this general observation, the Constitution is very clear about the limited role the Board of the Audit Service should play.

“We have taken notice of the swift action of the President, once the matter became public, to investigate the matter and we urge that this task is undertaken with alacrity to ensure the ongoing work of the Auditor General and the morale of the Service is not affected.

“Finally, the Coalition wish to state unequivocally that it holds Mr. Daniel Domelevo and the staff of the Audit Service in high regard for the work they have embarked upon to ensure that our leaders are held accountable for how they utilize public resources. If we are going to seriously achieve a Ghana Beyond Aid we need a stronger and more committed Audit Service and Auditor-General. We hope that at the end of this process we would have taken positive steps in that direction.”

Membership of the Coalition which is chaired by Nana Osei-Bonsu, CEO of the Private Enterprise Foundation, include Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana), Afrobarometer, Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG), SEND-Ghana, Penplusbyte, Financial Accountability & Transparency-Accra (FAT-Africa), ISODEC/CSO Oil and Gas Platform and IMANI-Ghana.

The rest are Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI), Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI)/RTI Coalition, Centre for Local Governance Advocacy (CLGA), Africa Centre for International Law and Accountability - ACILA, Parliamentary News Africa - PNAfrica, CSO Platform on IMF, WILDAF Ghana, Citizens Movement Against Corruption (CMaC) and Legal Resources Centre (LRC).