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AG’s Dept starved of cash

The Auditor General’s Department faces a huge challenge to execute its work effectively because it has been starved of cash over the years by the government, a transmittal letter has revealed.

Vice Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Samuel Atta Akyea, who read the letter at the committee’s sitting on Wednesday May 18, said the office might not be able to effectively carry out its duties of bringing to the fore financial infractions of the various Ministries, Departments and Agencies, as officials of the department were in no mood to continue funding the work of the department with their personal resources.

Excerpts of the letter written by the Auditor General read: “As parliament proceeds to deliberate upon this report, I would like to draw the members’ attention that the audit of governmental and public institutions January 2013 was conducted under very austere conditions that have been very tasking for my institution.”

“It is my fervent wish that honourable members will take note that my staff were compelled, out of their goodwill, to use their own salaries and personal resources to finance the auditing activities in expectation that they will be reimbursed by my office, [but] did not receive the relevant funds from the Ministry of Finance to effect such reimbursement to the officers.”

The letter also indicated how the department had still not received its budgetary allocation, which was approved by parliament.

“The introduction of GIFMIS (Ghana Integrated Financial Management Information System) has also required that my staff should obtain specialised IT training and be provided with relevant tools to audit this computerised platform. I am, however, constrained in this drive because my office has not received the necessary budgetary resources from the Ministry of Finance even though funds were approved for this purpose.

“I must caution that given these circumstances, if an audit function is not supported with adequate resources, there may come a time when the governmental or public sector auditor’s independence and integrity may be at risk. … This will be as a result of poor funding and a lack of incentive and basic working tools, as well as the enabling environment for professionalism of our institution.”

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