The audit service has begun a nationwide special audit of Regional and District Coordinating Councils' accounts. The audit will cover the three-year period from January 2002 to December 2004.
Besides propagating and implementing the government's policies and programmes, the coordinating councils serve as a link between the regions and districts and the central government.
A statement issued in Accra on Tuesday quoted the auditor general, Mr. Edward Dua-Agyeman, as saying that the aim of the exercise was to access the financial management of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives in the immediate past administration.
The statement added that the audit would enable the government to calculate the end-of-service benefits that were due to district chief executives (DCEs).
The statement said the first phase of the exercise, which commenced on February 10, would end on March 10.
The statement said that 230 audit officers, drawn from Accra and other regions, had been dispatched to the Volta, Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, as well as to selected metropolitan and district assemblies.
These included the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), the Sekondi-Takoradi Metropolitan Assembly and the Sefwi-Wiawso District Assembly.
The Auditor – General requested personnel of the affected assemblies to prepare for the audit, warning that, the audit teams would not wait for any assembly if its accounts were not ready. Clarifying aspects of the statement, the audit service public relations officer, Mr. Kwesi Okyere, said that a nationwide audit of district assemblies every four years was constitutional requirement.
He said that the law mandated the audit service to conduct an audit of this nature in consultation with the ministry of local government and rural development. Mr. Okyere acknowledged that outgoing DCEs were entitled to end-of service benefits.
However, he said, the benefits could only be paid after that accounts had been audited to establish that the DCEs did not owe the assemblies any money.