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17.01.2006 Press Review

Editorial: Send Dua-Agyeman Where He Belongs

By Chronicle
Editorial: Send Dua-Agyeman Where He Belongs

The Auditor-General, Mr. Edward Dua-Agyemang, some few months ago, incurred the wrath of The Chronicle when, in an apparent deployment of his office to please his employers, he sought to selectively execute his job of supposedly investigating the honouring of tax obligations by Militant Publications, publishers of The Insight newspaper, which had as Managing Editor, veteran Journalist, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr., but he leaked that information to the media as well.

Mr. Dua-Agyemang had leaked to the press what was supposed to be a tax default of the veteran journalist's publishing company, simply because he had joined the Committee for Joint Action (CJA) that was demanding from government a reduction in the tax component of petroleum prices.

Even though Mr. Dua-Agyemang had told The Chronicle that The Insight newspaper was only one of twenty-two newspapers that his outfit was auditing for the purposes of their tax liabilities and that only the report on The Insight newspaper was completed, up till today, no information has been provided about the findings of that audit with regards to any of the supposed twenty-one other media.

But even long before that, some individuals and organizations had challenged the findings of the Auditor-General's. Even though it is not uncommon for audit findings to be challenged, this normally takes place when individuals or organizations against whom adverse findings are made, are given the opportunity to respond through queries.

Unfortunately, it appears institutions against which adverse findings are made are not given the opportunity to respond to these findings. Rather, the Auditor-General's seem to be leaking these contestable findings into the public domain, for propaganda purposes.

In doing that, it had actually won the admiration and applause of sections of the public for doing a good job. However, it has, at the same time, succeeded in tainting the image of the organizations and some individuals with some of its dubious findings.

Just a couple of weeks ago, the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) descended heavily on the Auditor-General for putting out in the public domain, what it said was an absolutely baseless allegations of having halted or prevented corruption within the former body.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) had also protested against inaccurate reports of the Auditor-General's about it.

With these two bodies, considering their pivotal role in the fight against corruption and other forms of fraudulent practices, the allegations against them, without doubt, undermines their credibility.

The Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC) is one of twenty-nine companies cited by the Auditor-General's as having involved themselves in financial deals, leading to the loss of several billions of cedis to the state.

Auditors, by training, are known to be very discrete in the handling of information that comes their way in the course of their work. It is therefore strange that we have an Auditor-General who takes delight in claiming easy victories, through putting out unverified information in the public domain.

Mr. Edward Dua-Agyemang was recruited on contract into his current position, when he had passed the retiring age.

It is the view of The Chronicle that his continued stay in office is becoming an embarrassment to the Audit Service and the nation at large, and the earlier he is sent packing for a substantive Auditor-General to assume that position, the better it would be for the taxpayer.