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Public servants with earnings above GH¢3,727 to declare assets

Public servants with earnings above GH¢3,727 to declare assets Featured

All public servants whose salaries are GH¢3,727 or above are required by law to declare their assets and liabilities, the Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yaw Domelevo, has said.

He advised public officials to disabuse their minds that it was only politicians who were enjoined by the law to declare their assets.

Mr Domelevo was speaking at the eighth annual Accountability Lectures and official launch of the 2017 Financial Year Audit of the Ghana Audit Service in Accra on Monday.

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

“We have started modernising the assets and liabilities declaration regime,” Mr Domelevo added.

Speaking on “Promoting a culture of integrity, transparency and accountability in the national discourse”, Mr Domelevo said the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2017 for Ghana called for a renewed effort to combat corruption in the country.

He submitted that the fight against corruption was a collective one and the Audit Service served as the linchpin of Ghana’s integrity system as mandated under the 1992 Constitution.

Pay no bribes

The Auditor-General cautioned state institutions not to provide any courtesies or pay anything to the auditors who came to audit their institutions.

He quoted Section 33 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) which made it an offence for members of the Audit Service to demand or accept bribe or gratuity in the conduct of their work or wilfully fail to report the abuses of irregularities that came to their notice during the audit.

He indicated that the Audit Service was committed to ensuring that audits carried out by private auditing firms conformed to the legal framework.

Challenges

He said the long period within which ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) responded to audit queries was one of the major challenges facing the service.

“We are no longer going to tolerate such delays, as we are going according to the law. Section 29 of the Audit Service Act provides that MDAs have 30 days from the date they receive the audit observation to reply,” the Auditor-General stated.

Addressing the opening session of the event, the Vice-President, Alhaji Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, asked the Auditor-General to team up with the Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, to root out the canker of corruption in the public service.

In the pursuit of that objective, he gave an assurance that not only would the government not interfere in the work of the Auditor-General but also equally provide the office with the necessary resources to execute its mandate.

 Dr Bawumia said the government would increase the budgetary allocation of the Auditor-General to GH¢35 million from the 2017 figure of GH¢19 million.

He further gave an assurance that the government would ensure the passage of the Right to Information (RTI) Bill this year to give impetus to the fight against corruption.

A-G lauded

The Vice-President lauded Mr Domelevo, whose vigilance uncovered and subsequently disallowed the payment of GH¢5.4 billion to contractors and other service providers.

He called for the prosecution of persons whose actions nearly led to the payment of that amount to those contractors.

“A meeting with Mr Amidu over a cup of tea to discuss these issues will be in the right direction,” he said to the Auditor-General, generating laughter from among the audience.

Dr Bawumia deplored the corruption canker over the years, saying it had deprived the country of the needed development.

“We are faced with enormous infrastructural and logistical challenges as a nation and yet we are not able to meet our financial obligations all because of corruption,” he said.

Alluding to the wilful embezzlement of funds that continued to undermine the development agenda, he reiterated the commitment of the Nana Akufo-Addo administration to leave no stone unturned to weed out the canker.

Paperless audit

Dr Bawumia took his campaign for a paperless regime to the Audit Service, saying that the time had come for the service to go paperless.

He said the government had made available GH¢1.5 million for an automated system at the service, with GH¢500,000 earmarked for the training of audit staff under the public financial management project.

Board chair/US Ambassador

Earlier, the Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua-Agyeman, had said it was time the country made greater strides in the fight against corruption.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Robert Jackson, lauded the President for his commitment to deal with the corruption menace.

He urged the speedy passage of the RTI as a further demonstration of the government’s commitment to deal with the canker.

Former auditor-generals were honoured for their commitment to dedicated service. They were Mr Osei Tutu Prempeh (1990-2001), Prof. Dua-Agyeman (2001-2010) and Mr Richard Quartey (2010-2016).

Additional Info

  • Origin: graphic/GhAgent