Legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah has expressed frustration at what he described as the failure of the Auditor-General to exercise the powers given to him by the Constitution.
He said the Auditor-General, Richard Quartey has failed to hold persons found to have misappropriated State money accountable.
The Audit Service Act 584, 2000 clothes the Auditor-General with power to examine accounts of government institutions and “express his opinion as to whether the accounts present fairly financial information in accordance with the applicable statutory provisions, stated accounting policies of the Government and is in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and essentially consistent with that of the preceding year.”
He is then expected to write a report and make recommendations on the findings for some actions to be taken in retrieving moneys appropriated from the State coffers.
He is also mandated by the Act to write a letter to persons found to have misappropriated State funds disallowing and exacting payment of the money to the State with copies sent to the Attorney-General and the Speaker of Parliament.
The law further states that after such persons have been served with letters to make refunds, they are required to do so within 60 days and the Attorney-General must enforce this requirement in a court of law.
Mr Ankomah, however, said the Auditor-General has neglected the part of his functions that gives him the power to surcharge people adding that if he had done that the nation would have been saved the controversial ȼ51.2m judgment debt paid to the businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome.
“The blame first lies with the office of the Auditor-General that has refused or failed to exercise an excess power that is given to him under the Constitution”, he said.
Speaking on the Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, Mr Ankomah said all that the Auditor-General needs to do is “To take out a sheet of paper” asking culprits to refund moneys due the State and that it is not the responsibility of the Attorney-General to do that.
He refuted claims that the nation lacks strong institutions to stamp out corruption, saying: “Ghana has strong institutions, what we don’t have are the men and women of the most part with the spine to make sure those institutions work well.”
He said OccupyGhana – a coalition of citizen vigilantes has on several occasions drafted a copy of the surcharge letter to the Auditor-General to crack the whip for the first time but he has refused to do so.
Mr Ankomah also revealed that the Rules of Court Committee – a committee established by article 157 of the Constitution to make court rules for regulating the practice and procedure of all courts in Ghana drafted and forwarded to the Attorney-General rules to guide the implementation of the Audit report but she has refused to respond to the Committee.
He regretted the slow pace attitude of the Attorney-General, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong and her refusal to respond to the Committee’s document amounts to an institutional failure adding it is also the failure of men and women.