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11.08.2005 General News

Auditor-General's Department recovers 18 billion cedis


Accra, Aug. 11, GNA - The vigilance of the Auditor-General's Department has led to the recovery of 18 billion cedis of unearned salaries, which would otherwise have been paid to ghost workers in the Public Service.

Speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency after the opening of the Second Session of the Forum of Accountants-General and Auditors-General in West Africa (FAAGWA) in Accra, Mr Edward Dua Agyeman, Ghana's Auditor - General said the monies were retrieved from separate accounts of some Ministries, Departments and Agencies. These were meant for salaries for persons, who had retired from the Public and Civil Service, he said.

The retrieval of the 18 billion cedis, approximately two million dollars, was part of a vigorous on-going exercise embarked on by the Department to address malpractices in Government payroll structure, Mr Dua Agyeman said.

The Session had Vice-President Alhaji Aliu Mahama in attendance, and Accountants-General and Auditors-Generals from Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. Mr Dua Agyeman did not mention which particular MDAs were engaged in these acts nor the officers involved, but said the exercise spanned 2002 to 2004.

When asked how the retrieved funds were being utilised the Auditor-General said they were state funds and had thus been lodged in Government coffers.

He called for utmost collaboration between the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service; Value Added Tax Service and the Internal Revenue Service on the one hand and the Controller and Accountant-General and Auditor-General's Departments to fish out persons and schemes that fleece the nation of much-needed revenue.

Speaking under on: "Poverty Reduction Strategies in West Africa - The Role of the Accountants-General and Auditors-General," Mr Dua Agyemang said the work of these two institutions were crucial to the State's ability to build wealth and spread it for the development of their people to reduce poverty to the barest minimum.

"In making poverty reduction real, the Accountants-General and Auditors-General Departments in the various countries must work to efficiently make funds available to the State.

"In this regard, the three other institutions notably, Customs, Excise and Preventive Service, Value Added Tax Service and the Internal Revenue Service must show full commitment to realising the objective of creating wealth for development."

Mr Dua Agyeman called for support for the two bodies in their work, which, he argued, should not compromise their roles under any circumstances.

He said there was currently a global shift to make the work of FAAGWA relevant to the needs of their people.

Mr Christian Sottie, Controller and Accountant General of Ghana, called for the harmonization of standards and procedures within the Sub-Region if the deplorable state of affairs in the Sub-Region was to be reduced in keeping with the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals and New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) Initiative. He explained that current global events had brought to the fore the need to narrow, if not eliminate, differences in international financial reporting and auditing.

"Such events include globalisation, increasing cross-border transactions, especially investments and advances in information technology, which have implications for international business," Mr Sottie said.

Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu, Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, who chaired the event, underscored the need to eradicate poverty to bring a shine and smile to the faces of the people.

"This we can do by ensuring that we accumulate wealth as institutions and spread it as much as possible. We should also ensure that fixed assets of the State are kept in good shape."