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26.07.2005 General News

Parliament adopts Auditor-General audit report

By GNA

Accra, July 26, GNA - Parliament on Tuesday adopted the report on the Audit of the Accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General from 1993 to 2002.

Areas covered by the auditing are record keeping; internal controls; budgetary allocations; accounting transactions; fixed assets registers; stationery stores; imprest cash and procurement.

Presenting the report for adoption, Mr Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, noted that the Constitution enjoined Parliament to appoint an auditor to audit the accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General.

"Unfortunately, the first and second Parliaments of the Fourth Republic could not implement this constitutional requirement resulting in un-audited account of the Office for the past 10 years."

He said the audit disclosed that record keeping was poor in the Office of the Auditor-General or Audit Service.

"The Office could not furnish the Auditors with Payment Vouchers and Imprest Cash Books for the period 1993 to 1998 and also Vote Service Ledgers for 1994 and 1996 and Local Purchase Orders for 1993 to 1997 were only made available after the completion of the audit."

Mr Sallas-Mensah said the Committee recommended that the Service should conduct periodic and regular in-service training on records management for schedule officers.

The audit revealed that internal controls was weak and that there were no reports for 1993 to 1998 as well as no evidence of stocktaking of the stationery store and also no evidence of cash count during the 10-year period.

"Queries raised in the few internal audit reports made available to the Auditors were also not implemented."

Mr Sallas-Mensah said the Committee recommended that there should be regular cash count and stocktaking to minimise the risk of embezzlement and misappropriation of funds.

The Committee further said sanctions should be instituted against officers, who failed to respond or implement the recommendations of internal audit.

The Audit report on financial statements indicated that the Audit Service failed to prepare financial statements under the Treasury System of Accounting and that what was rather prepared was the Consolidated Expenditure Returns.

"The Auditor-General acknowledged the lapse and informed the Committee that the Service has now instituted a standardised reporting system on monthly returns for the regional and district offices and submissions are being monitored at the Head Office."

On Accounting Transactions, the audit revealed errors in the Vote Service Ledgers with some payment vouchers not entered and in other situations where figures had been amended by internal audit, the original ones were still maintained in the ledger.

The Committee concluded that all the financial statements for the years 1993 to 2002 had been qualified because of the absence of relevant supporting documents.

"In cases where documents were made available, transactions did not fully comply with the relevant provisions of L.I. 1234..." The Committee urged the Auditor-General to continue to improve on the financial controls to remove the causes of the qualification as soon as possible.

Earlier Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister of Communication, had asked the Committee to withdraw the report because the basis for the audit was to show supporting documents but in this case most of the documents were either destroyed or could not be found. "The report has more questions to answer and we should not allow it to be swept under the carpet," he said.

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