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26.11.2003 General News

Leading Minority MPs Question Internal Audit Bill

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The Minority Leader in Parliament, Alban Bagbin and Minority Chief Whip, Doe Adjaho, have questioned the constitutionality of a Central Internal Audit Agency Bill, which was unanimously adopted by Parliament on Wednesday.

The bill’s passage into law will facilitate the establishment of a Central Internal Audit Agency (CIAA) to coordinate, facilitate and provide quality assurance for internal audit activities in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies.

But the two leading Minority MP’s say its passage could violate the constitution.

The CIAA will also set standards and procedures for the conduct of internal audit activities. That responsibility has until now been borne by seconded staff from the Controller and Accountant-General's Department.

But the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning in charge of budgets, Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei who moved the motion, said the Controller and Accountant-General's Department’s deployment of auditors for internal audit services is a deficiency in human capacity.

He argued that the bill will serve as a good purpose through an agency that provides internal audit services on a more regular proactive basis to ensure that national resources are judiciously applied and properly accounted for.

Majority Leader, Felix Owusu-Agyepong also argued that the passage of the bill into law would curb, to a large extent, what has come to be known as causing financial loss to the state."

However, Doe Adjaho who questioned the constitutionality, adequacy and location of the bill and the agency it seeks to establish, insisted that the 1992 Constitution vests the functions of internal and external audit in the Controller and Accountant General's Department.

Mr Bagbin added that the bill is inadequate because it did not state the defects of the present internal audit system, neither did it state any proposals for correcting such defects if any. He also noted that the location of the proposed Central Internal Audit Agency under the Finance Ministry in addition to the Controller and Accountant-General's Department would be a conflict. He recommended the placement of the proposed agency under the office of the President.

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