The Auditor-General (A-G) is bracing himself to crack the whip on heads of ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) who do not use state resources for the intended and stated purposes.
Lawyer Ace Kojo Anan Ankomah and his OccupyGhana (OG) group, who have been working with officials of the Auditor-General’s Department in drafting a working paper to enable them protect the public purse from further abuse, said the outcome of their work would be seen in a month’s time when the A-G begins to issue surcharges against public officials and institutions that misappropriate state resources.
This was after OccupyGhana had threatened to sue the Auditor-General for failing to exercise his constitutional powers to check state institutions that misapply national resources. There have been startling revelations about misapplication and misappropriation of state funds by some public officials captured by the yearly Auditor-General’s report with no concrete measures to retrieve the missing funds.
In November last year, the group demanded that the A-G begin the process to recover all stolen monies or risk being sued in court for negligence of duty.
Even though the A-G’s Department initially called their bluff, Ace Ankomah told Joy FM in an interview yesterday that they had helped it to develop the needed framework to enable it retrieve all stolen, misapplied or diverted funds.
“You recall that the initial response of the Auditor-General was almost snobbish – ‘You can’t tell us what to do. In fact, come and let us educate you.’ Finally, they called a meeting and conceded that we were right and that it was something they had never done and actually asked for our help,” the ace lawyer said.
According to him, “They proposed a joint working group – two from the Auditor-General, two from OccupyGhana and one from the Attorney-General’s [Department]” – and that the group has since presented a working paper that would guide the execution of the task of surcharging individuals responsible for misappropriation of public funds.”
The lawyer however, expressed regret about delays in getting a response from the Rules of Court Committee which according to him, was supposed to set the rules to guide appeals against surcharges and actions taken by the Auditor-General.