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22.10.2020 Politics

Probe Of Auditor-General’s Foreign Travels Unconstitutional — Dafeamekpor

Probe Of Auditor-General’s Foreign Travels Unconstitutional — Dafeamekpor
LISTEN OCT 22, 2020

A member of the Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, and Judiciary Committees of Parliament, Rockson-Nelson Dafeamekpor insists that the Board of Directors of the Audit Service cannot order an audit into foreign travels of the Auditor-General.

Mr. Dafeamekpor says the only institution with such powers is the Parliament of Ghana.

He has thus described the move by the Audit Service Board as unconstitutional.

He cited Article 187(15) of the Constitution 1992 as the basis for his argument.

Mr. Dafeamekpor in a press statement sighted by Citi News said such acts must not be countenanced.

“We are waking up to the perpetration of another illegality in the matter of a probe. And that is the supposed audit of foreign travels of Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo by the Audit Service Board. The Audit Service Board had gone further to appoint a private firm, K&A Accounting Services, to undertake the said audit which if allowed to proceed, would amount to illegality and an attempt to usurp the powers of Parliament.”

“Clearly, the intention to conduct this audit, and the subsequent appointment of an audit firm in this regard, is illegal, void and must not be allowed to stand. This clearly amounts to the usurpation of the powers of Parliament as stated clearly in Article 187(15), and must be abandoned immediately.”

Background

The Audit Service Board has contracted a private audit firm to probe foreign travels and other accounts of the Auditor-General and the Deputy Auditors-General.

The firm is to submit reports to the Board within 14 days.

The Board is of the view that the Auditor-General has failed to render accounts of his travels outside for official duties.

Subsequently, the Board appointed K&A Accounting Services to audit the foreign travels of the Management Staff from 2017 to 2020 and issue reports to the Board in accordance with the attached terms of reference, reports on foreign travels from 2017-2020 for the Auditor-General and the six Deputy Auditors-General.

But in a response to the Board, the Auditor-General who is currently on an extended leave said the appointment of the accounting firm is a violation of Articles 187(15) of the Constitution which provided that “the accounts of the office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an auditor appointed by parliament.”

Muntaka blasts Audit Service Board

On the same issue, the Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak, chastised the Board of Directors of the Audit Service for its actions.

In an interview with Citi News, the Asawase MP said the move is unconstitutional.

“Follow the due process. If you think there is something that needs to be audited, draw Parliament's attention. We will definitely set up a committee to look for an auditor or audit firm to audit the Auditor-General. They cannot just go ahead to get private firms to audit them. It is unlawful.”

“Government cannot just appoint a private person to audit the audit service. That is illegal. The problem with this government is that they claim to uphold the rule of law but act contrary. They keep going after people,” he complained.

Below is the full statement from Dafeamekpor

PROBE OF AUDITOR-GENERALS ACCOUNTS BY AUDIT SERVICE BOARD, UNCONSTITUTIONAL

We are waking up to the perpetration of another illegality in the matter of a probe. And that is the supposed audit of foreign travels of Auditor-General, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo by the Audit Service Board. The Audit Service Board had gone further to appoint a private firm, K&A Accounting Services, to undertake the said audit which if allowed to proceed, would amount to an illegality and an attempt to usurp the powers of Parliament.

The law is very clear on this matter.

The Constitution 1992, has clear provisions on who can conduct a probe and in this case, an audit into the services, actions and conducts of the Auditor-General. Article 187(15) of the Constitution 1992 states:

“The accounts of the office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an auditor appointed by Parliament”.

By convention, Parliament, through the direction of the Speaker, appoints an Ad-hoc committee for the purpose of recommending an auditor approved by the House of Parliament for subsequent appointment to undertake the audit of the Accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General.

The Audit Service Board is in no way, clothed with any such powers to undertake the appointment of an auditor for the purpose they have commenced. Indeed, the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584), spells out the functions of the Audit Service Board in Section 4 (1), (2) and (3) as follows:

“*Functions of the Board

4. (I) The Board shall-

(a) determine the structure and technical expertise required for the efficient performance of the functions of the Service;

(b) ensure that the auditing activities of the Audit Service as spelt out in this Act are carried out in accordance with best international practices;

(c) appoint officers and other employees of the Service other than the Auditor-General; and (d) determine the terms and conditions of service of officers and other employees of the Service other than the Auditor-General.

(2) In pursuance of subsection (1) the Board shall hold consultation with the Public Services Commission but final decision on any matter is subject to the approval of the Board.

(3) The Board may delegate to the Auditor-General or any officer of the Service or a committee of the Board, the appointment of such category of staff of the Service as the Board may determine.”

From the foregoing, the supreme law of Ghana, the 1992 Constitution, and the parent act, which in this case is the Audit Service Act, 2000, Act 584, places the power to audit the Office of the Auditor-General in the hands of Parliament and excludes the exercise of such powers from the functions of the Audit Service Board.

Clearly, the intention to conduct this audit, and the subsequent appointment of an audit firm in this regard, is illegal, void and must not be allowed to stand. This clearly amounts to the usurpation of the powers of Parliament as stated clearly in Article 187(15), and must be abandoned immediately.

Signed:

Rockson-Nelson EK. Dafeamekpor Esq.

MP, South Dayi

Member: Constitutional, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs, and Judiciary Committees, Parliament of Ghana.

---citinewsroom

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