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Auditor-General to withhold salaries of public servants

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The Auditor-General (A-G), Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, has warned that the Audit Service will withhold the salaries of persons who fail to respond to audit observations or queries within 30 days at the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

He said his outfit would no longer tolerate such delays from public servants working with the MDAs.

“We’re no longer going to tolerate such delays as we’re going to do so in accordance with the law,” he stated.

Section 29 of the Audit Service Act provides that MDAs have 30 days from the date they receive the audit observation to reply.

Mr Domelevo gave the warning at the Eighth Annual Accountability Lectures and Launching of the 2017 Audit Financial Year of the Ghana Audit Service in Accra last Monday.

The event was held on the theme: “Protecting the public purse- Our commitment towards Ghana’s Development agenda’’.

The objective of the accountability lecture is to whip up the need to incorporate the principles of integrity, transparency, probity and accountability in the management of public funds in national discourse towards the achievement of the national development goals.

Needless excuses

Mr Domelevo said his outfit had observed with deep concern some delay tactics put up by the management of the MDAs intended to frustrate auditors, saying that: “They often give excuses such as “we are not ready”, “we have a conference to attend” and “the schedule officer is not at post”.

“We’re going to lock the salaries of anyone who fails to reply within the 30 days as provided by Section 29 (2), and thereafter if the MDA fails to provide the reply with the necessary supporting documents, we will disallow the expenditure and surcharge the officer concerned.”

He noted that Section 33 of the Audit Service Act made it an offence for anyone to obstruct audit, and stated: “We will stop at nothing to exercise our authority to bring to book MDAs that frustrate the conduct of an audit’’.

Mr Domelevo said the Audit Service had started disallowing expenditures that were contrary to the law and held officials accountable to any infraction.

“We want the disallowance and surcharge to be done in the cause of the audit and hence we have developed guidelines on disallowance and surcharge to guide our staff.”

“We have been trained in the implementation of the guidelines and soon disallowance and surcharge will be decentralised to the regional levels and later to the districts to ensure timeliness.

The Auditor-General, therefore, asked anyone aggrieved by the disallowance and surcharge to appeal to the High Court in accordance with Article 181(9) of the 1992 Constitution.

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