For Leaking Faulty Audit Report
Former Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, has 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 be 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, Samuel Sallas-Mensah on Wednesday in Accra, said it “Is wrong and impugns on the work of the Public Accounts Committee”.
His comments come on the heels of a press conference by Mr. Domelevo on Monday 5, February 2018, where he listed various actions his outfit is taking to deal with persons who continue to abuse the public purse.
The Auditor-General, also revealed that he had applied to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Glora Akuffo, to grant him prosecutorial powers to haul persons indicted in his report before the court.
Speaking on the back of the 2016 Auditor General’s report which revealed that some state agencies engaged in unlawful monetary practices, Mr. Domelevo said, “We are not going to finish our audit and wait for the TV show at Public Accounts [Committee] anymore.”
Auditor General warned “when we finish our audit, we raise observations against you and you decide to ignore it, we will disallow the expenditure and surcharge you and I told my colleagues that beginning this year, we must have to apply the law.”
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, 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.