*Special Audit Report Traced To Ken Ofori-Atta
* Multiple Invoices & Procurement Records Came From Akufo-Addo’s Appointees
Interesting details are emerging on the Audit Report making the rounds in which the Audit Service led by Daniel Yaw Domelevo, is captured as saying, he rejected a total of GH¢5.479 billion out of a GH¢11.279 billion liabilities submitted by the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the Finance Ministry for payment.
Firstly, the special audit according to snippets of information available to The Herald, was contracted by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, who wanted to know the extent of government debt obligations to various contractors and suppliers, before the Akufo-Addo government embarks on any major projects namely; roads, schools and others.
Secondly, the invoices, warrants, contract documents, procurement records and Stores Received Advices with respect to the indebtedness as captured by the Special Audit Report according to this paper’s sources, were supplied to the team of auditors by appointees of the Akufo-Akufo government currently in-charge of the MDAs.
Thirdly, the impression one gets from the information picked up on the Audit Report, suggest the Akufo-Addo government or elements within it, including auditors, were out and about to nail some individuals and companies linked to the previous government.
Interestingly, businessman, Jeffery Amposah, whose company was captured in the audit report, has challenged the Auditor General to prosecute all those cited for making false claims for sums of money which had already been paid.
Mr. Amponsah ,would even be happy if staff of his own company, Byes and Ways, which was named as one of the companies on whose behalf unfounded claims were made, are prosecuted together with public officers who aided in raising the invoices.
Fourthly, the audits were done without recourse to the contractors and suppliers, as well as previous occupants of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) thus suggesting that multiple invoices, warrants, contracts documents, procurement records, Stores Received Advices had been submitted by the private companies to defraud the state a whooping GH¢5.479 billion.
Fifthly, the claims that the audit was done by a private company at an exorbitant amount and handed over to the Auditor General, to own it and speak to it. This, the Auditor General has done so far.
The Auditor-General, last week revealed, he has applied to the Attorney General to grant him powers to prosecute persons indicted in the report.
Addressing journalists on Monday, February 5, 2018, Mr. Domelevo said “…if a fiat is given by the Attorney General to Audit Service just like it has been given to the police and others to prosecute…which I have actually applied for, you will see me in action.”
Mr. Domelevo, made the announcement on the back of revelations from a 2016 audit of the finances of the various ministries, departments and agencies, which revealed that some state agencies engaged in unlawful monetary practices.
The Auditor General, had earlier disclosed that, some GH¢5.4 billion was wrongfully paid to contractors, and other service providers by officials at the various ministries between 2014-2017, adding he has disallowed such payments, and has recommended prosecution of the officials who presided over same.
The Managing Director of Byes and Ways made the remark on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show Wednesday, in reaction to a finding in the Auditor report that GH¢28,404,803.80 said to be owed Byes and Ways by the Ministry of Power, now Ministry of Energy. The company from a 2015 contract for the supply of wooden poles and stay blocks, had been rejected because the said amount had already been paid.
According to the report, the Energy Ministry in its response to a request made by the Finance Ministry on June 21, 2017, asserted that government was indebted to the contractor an amount of GH¢28,404,803.80 for the items supplied.
However, in the process of validating the claim, the Auditor General, discovered that the said amount was paid on December 16, 2016, leaving an outstanding amount of GH¢3,404,803.90.
The report further notes that “Upon further discussion with management, it was established that two cheques from Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) number 049347 and 049278 for 2,500,000 and 5,000,000 respectively, were made in 2016 to fully discharge the liability.”
“We, therefore, rejected the liability of GH¢28,404,803.80,” the report said.
But speaking on the Super Morning Show, Mr. Amponsah, dared Auditor General, who is charged with the responsibility of auditing and reporting on the government’s expenditures, to produce documents from his company in which the supposed claim was made.
“I am challenging the Ministry of Power [Energy Ministry], I am challenging the Ministry of Finance and I am challenging the Auditor General…to produce that invoice which says we are demanding Twenty-Eight Million Four Hundred and Four Thousand [Cedis]”.
The situation he observed, has become synonymous with a change of government, recalling how he suffered a similar fate in 2001, 2009 and now under the current administration.
“What stops the Ministry of Power to have reconciled their accounts before sending that demand to Ministry of Finance?”
He lamented: “As a taxpayer, I have always wondered why such reports come out every year and nothing happens about those reports,” and asked why the Attorney-General has not initiated steps to prosecute the offenders.
“I’m calling for the prosecution of everybody [named] in the Auditor General’s report that has been cited to have made a claim for money that he does not deserve, including the company [Byes and Ways],” Mr. Amponsah told Daniel Dadzie, host of the Show.
Former Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, has also questioned the Auditor-General’s decision to release his 2016 audit report on the various state institutions to the media even though it is yet to laid before Parliament for a thorough scrutiny.
He said, it was too early for Daniel Domelevo to be excited just because his outfit’s findings have shown that some people have shortchanged the state adding, audit reports are not “sacrosanct”.
Mr. Adjaho, noted that the action of Mr. Domelevo, violates parliamentary procedure which states that after an audit finding, it should first be laid before the August House, for onward examination by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The ex-Speaker, who was one of the longest serving MPs said, such reports should not be treated as though it is a completed document because it can be subjected to strict prove and found wanting.
Audit Report he maintained, should not be allowed to be used as a tool for propaganda purposes to score cheap political points.
“We should not allow these reports to become propaganda tools in the hands of politicians and I mean NDC and NPP, in particular. This will absolutely undermine the process and create the challenges that weaken the legislature. It negatively affects the work of parliamentary democracy and unduly creates a strong sense of suspicion and victimization in our body politics”, he argued.
Mr. Adjaho, who spoke in his capacity as guest of honour at a joint launch of a book entailed: “Destiny and Politics” by a former MP for Upper West Akim and former Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Samuel Sallas-Mensah last Wednesday in Accra, said it “Is wrong and impugns on the work of the Public Accounts Committee”.
But the former Speaker, who is unimpressed with the Auditor General, said “the truth is that, Auditors also do make mistakes” and narrated his own experience while serving as a member of PAC.
The former Member of Parliament (MP) for Akatsi South, said it was not surprising that following the release of the report; an accused person has already come out denying any wrong doing.
In a similar vein, Mr. Adjaho, who is a lawyer, said people in the past were accused and trailed in the media before they were heard and when they appeared before PAC, they presented documents that showed that, the report was rather wrong.
“The Auditor-General brought a report on one of the state institutions and made an adverse finding against one of the top officers of that institution. During the public hearing, the person against whom those adverse findings were made against appeared before us, and produce documents to show that the adverse finding that were made against him were wrong”, he said.
The former legislator cautioned that the quest to fight corruption at all cost, should not be done at the expense of others or warrants people with authorities to abuse due process.
“You want to fight corruption I agree, you want to make reports public, but while you are doing this, let us also take steps and ensure the due process is followed. My position is that, we should at all cost resist the temptation to leak audit reports which may not necessarily be final on a matter before the reports are laid in the House”, he said.
He added “Historically, the Public Accounts Committee is one of the few committees of parliament that works in a bipartisan manner. It is important therefore, to respect established principles as stipulated by our laws and follow best practices that will assure confidence in our institutions and processes after all, audit findings are not sacrosanct and therefore could be subjected to challenges”.
The experienced politician who praised highly the contribution of Mr. Sallas-Mensah in Parliament, especially on the PAC, said by law, the Auditor-General is required to protect the public purse; however, in his attempt to perform that mandate, he needs to ensure the rules are followed so that, the works of past leaders of PAC like, J H Mensah, Alban Bagbin, Samuel Sallas-Mensah, Kweku Agyeman Manu and others, do not go in vain because of “political expediency”.
Mr. Adjaho tasked his former colleagues to prioritize the work of audit report and also challenged them to take advantage of technology to explore the best way to transmit audit reports for immediate attention.