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Feature Article of Saturday, 21 January 2012

Columnist: Tetteh, Ephraim

Dismiss the Auditor General with immediate effect

The press release by the Auditor General"s dept to the effect that only 17m Gh cedis
was paid to Woyome in 2010 but not 58 million captured by the Auditor General"s own
report to parliament, should claim the job of at least one person and that is the
Auditor General himself. The crass incompetence displayed here by the Auditor
General is too instructive and for me there is only one honourable thing left for
the Auditor General to do and that is for him to resign with immediate effect. If a
whole Auditor General can be in this country ,witness the raging storm over the
Woyome matter as it has gone on for three to four weeks now, only for him to turn
around and disclose some supposed errors after Ministry of Information had
demanded specific answers on the matter, then not only can he be said to be not on
top of his job but indeed his gross incompetence could cost Ghana dearly in future
and President Mills must do the right
thing by relieving him of his post . Who knows other errors committed in his
reports which may not inure to Ghana"s benefit. I just cannot believe what i am
hearing. Even just last week on saturday, 7th january 2012 in kumasi,to be precise,
officials of the Auditor General"s department met the Public Accounts Committee of
parliament and this issue of errors in the report were not raised by the auditors.
This is extremely outlandish. So at what point did they realise the errors.? But
even stretching the matter further, i think the Minister of Finance and especially
the Accountant General have questions to answer for these grave errors. In any case
the Auditor General submits copies of the draft audit reports to Ministry of
Finance, the Accountant General and agencies for corrections before it is finally
submitted to parliament. So why couldnt any of these agencies detect these so
called errors?. What is more, the Auditor General
submitted his report to parliament on 30th june 2011,over six months ago , and
these supposed errors were not detected until now that the Public Accounts
Committee is ready to sit on the report. This is a serious matter and we should not
allow it to go to rest just like that. Also since serious red flags have been
raised about the audit report in question (2010), the Public Accounts
Committee must do extreme due diligence on it . The committee must scrutinize and
cross examine all the details in the report especially on the Woyome case, and if
there are any attempts by the auditors to cover up anything,they must must all be
exposed.
Now for those of you who have not seen the Auditor Gen"s press release, i repeat
it here: That in 2010 two payment orders were made towards the settlement of claims
by Alfred Agbesi Woyome and that the first payment order for Gc 41,811,481.59 was
issued on the 6th of April 2010. On september 22, 2010 another payment order for
Gc17,094,493.54 was issued and paid to Woyome. However Bank of Ghana did not effect
the earlier 41m payment but the 17m was cleared by the bank and paid to him.
The question to ask is why are we now hearing this. And this is their
defence...... "correspondence on the reversal of the 41,811,480.59 was not attached
to the original order in the books of the Controller and Accountant General and was
therefore not available to the team of auditors from the office of the Auditor
General who conducted the audit of public accounts as maintained by the Controller
and Accountant General." My goodness . what is this. A response from a
chartered ccountant,and the Auditor Gen at that . Since when was the examination of
bank statements stopped as part of standard audit practice in govt departments?. So
are the auditors saying that they didnt examine the bank statements of the
relevant Bank of Ghana accounts to know whether the payments had actually been made
before drawing any conclusions ? And did the Auditor General or his senior audit
supervisors not review work done on these collosal
amounts before subjecting them to the public domain. This is inexcusable and for
causing such huge embarrssment to the nation, and more importantly to avert
future national public audit blunders such as the current case, the Auditor
General must be fired. There should be no two ways about it.

Now back to the Woyome scandal. From govt circles, it is now clear that upwards
of 51m was paid to Woyomi so far because apart fom the 17m ( that the auditors want
us to believe was paid in 2010) the dept information minister Okudjeto Ablakwa has
confirmed an additional 34m was paid in 2011 which still makes it yet the most
'expensive" financial scandal to hit the country and in the wake of the Attorney
General and Minister for justice,Mr Martin Amidu"s recent scandalising revelations
against the NDC, President Mills and his NDC govt have a lot to answer to Ghanaians.

Dr Ephraim Tetteh
Anti corruption crusader
Biscayne Bay, Miami

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