Home General News Is the independence of the Auditor-General Sacrosanct? A critical review

Is the independence of the Auditor-General Sacrosanct? A critical review


The past pieces of the article talked about the significant sacred and administrative functions of the Office of Auditor-General in Ghana’s public monetary responsibility, the recoverability of sums overcharged and refused in abnormalities, and the basic jobs should have been played by bookkeeping experts to help the Auditor-General (A-G) in ensuring the public satchel just as the issues encompassing the stalemate between the A-G and the Board of the Ghana Audit Service (GAS).

Section 5 of the article presently examines and assesses the current institutional and authoritative autonomy of the Office of the Auditor General and its commitment in forestalling degenerate works on, guaranteeing responsibility, great administration and appropriateness with respect to public authorities and establishments.

The Institutional and Organizational Independence of the Office of Auditor-General

Article 35(8) of the 1992 Constitution basically orders the State “to find a way to annihilate degenerate practices and the maltreatment of intensity.” A successful Audit Office is one of the most significant organizations for considering government responsible for the utilization of public assets. Nonetheless, it must be unavoidably and lawfully autonomous as respects to its status, order, announcing, and the executives self-sufficiency and will have full watchfulness in the release of its capacities, as freedom is the foundation of compelling examining.

On the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), which scores nations by their apparent degrees of public area debasement, Ghana was positioned 80 with a score of 41/100 of every 2019. This implies the most elevated score of 48 accomplished in 2014 has since disintegrated to 41 of every 2019, demonstrating that the apparent degree of debasement in Ghana has not seen any improvement in score and rank since 2012, dissimilar to Botswana and Rwanda which positioned 34 and 51 out of the 180 nations in 2019, individually. As indicated by the Chair of Transparency International, Delia Rubio, “Governments should critically address the defiling function of large cash in ideological group financing and the unjustifiable impact it applies on our political frameworks.”

Critically, if well-resourced and enough free, the Audit Service would contribute altogether to battling defilement through the recognizable proof of zones of high debasement danger and anomalies and give their proposals to enhancements in broadly exposed review reports.

Besides, a more powerful authorization of overcharge and preclusion in compatibility of article 187(7) of the Constitution will go far in forestalling and hindering abnormalities and degenerate practices. As underlined by Article II of the Lima Declaration of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI), ISSAI 1: “Incomparable Audit Institutions can achieve their assignments impartially and adequately just on the off chance that they are autonomous of the evaluated element and are ensured against outside impact.”

The accompanying segment of the article assesses the institutional and authoritative freedom of the Office of the Auditor-General utilizing the accompanying key basics for the autonomy of SAIs as given by Geist and Mizrahi (1991):

  • sacred or authoritative freedom of the top of the review association through guaranteed residency;

  • a cycle for ensuring the review establishment the assets expected to complete its work successfully;

  • command over staff, including recruiting, terminating, compensation, and states of work;

  • the option to pick what to review and when, and the caution to distribute discoveries.

The protected or authoritative autonomy of the Auditor-General through guaranteed residency

Article II of ISSAI 1 expresses: “The freedom of the individuals will be ensured by the Constitution. Specifically, the strategies for expulsion from office additionally will be encapsulated in the Constitution and may not weaken the autonomy of the individuals. The strategy for arrangement and expulsion of individuals relies upon the established structure of every nation” (Section 6(2)”.

In Ghana, the A-G is delegated into public office by the President acting as per Article 70(1)(b) of the 1992 Constitution and in interview with the Council of State. In light of statement 1 of Article 199, a public official ought to resign from the public help on the fulfillment of sixty years old. Nonetheless, provision 4 of a similar article states: “where the exigencies of the administration require” the public official may “be locked in for a restricted time of not over two years all at once but rather not surpassing five years in all and upon such different terms and conditions as the selecting authority will decide.”

As given by article 187(13) of the 1992 Constitution, when delegated, an A-G of not exactly the retirement age of sixty years must be eliminated from office as per article 146 (1), which limits expulsion to “expressed mischief or ineptitude or on grounds of powerlessness to play out the elements of his office emerging from ailment of body or psyche”. This evacuation cycle requiring a presidential appeal and assurance of prima faciae case by the Chief Justice for ensuing legal examination and suggestion is very cumbersome and to some degree gives made sure about residency.

It can in this manner be set up that on arrangement, an A-G has guaranteed residency ensured by the Constitution until accomplishing sixty years old. The expansion of residency by the utilization of provision 4 of article 199 up to a limit of five years, be that as it may, is by all accounts the right of the President or at his caution.

In what is by all accounts in negation of Article 70(1)(b), both President Kufour and President Atta Mills selected acting A-Gs who held workplaces for periods surpassing one year before they were affirmed as considerable A-Gs. It has been contended that significant stretches in acting jobs has unfavorable impact on the freedom as one may act steadfastly to be affirmed to a considerable position.

Besides, it must be noticed that all the previous four leaders of the Fourth Republic have either eliminated or potentially designated A-Gs toward the start of their system, by mentioning the A-G’s to continue on leave before their retirement. Truly, the A-Gs left office after their retirement age aside from Richard Quartey who resigned at sixty (60) years in 2016. The others were mentioned to take their since quite a while ago collected leave before retirement.

On 30 June 2020, the President guided the current A-G to take his collected leave of at first 123 days and along these lines changed to 167 days, powerful first July 2020. This choice has broadly been considered as equivalent to expulsion of the A-G from office before accomplishing the retirement age of sixty because of priority. The Deputy Minority Chief Whip was accounted for to have censured the President’s mandate and declared that the autonomy of the A-G’s office has been undermined since any new replacement to the A-G would play to the President’s tune so as to dodge a similar destiny.

Contrastingly, in other Commonwealth nations working the Westminster model of preeminent review organizations like Ghana, their incomparable examiners are named as autonomous officials of Parliament with ten (10) years fixed term on suggestion endorsed by the Public Accounts Committee.

The cycle for ensuring the assets expected to do its work viably

As per areas 7(1) and (2) of Article II of ISSAI1: “Preeminent Audit Institutions will be furnished with the monetary way to empower them to achieve their errands, they will be qualified for apply straightforwardly for the essential budgetary intends to the public body settling on the public financial plan.” Accordingly, segment 27 of the Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584) endows the Board of the Service to make the evaluations be laid before Parliament without amendment however with any proposals that the President may make on them.

As far as legitimate system, the GAS is required to be monetarily autonomous with the current established and authoritative arrangements. All things considered, the appraisals are constantly changed to the President’s suggestion. For example, in November 2015 the President suggested that “considering the current financial difficulties confronting the nation” the entirety of GHS140.61m be affirmed rather than the Audit Service’s unique gauge of GHS187.51m. Also, the budgetary necessity for 2019 was reexamined from GHS387.94m to GHS316.45m.

The audit of the Special Budget Committee investigates spending assessments of the GAS for the period 2016 to 2020 shows that in contradiction of Article 179(2)(b) of the Constitution and Section 27 of Act 584, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) keeps on forcing spending roofs and postpone the arrival of assets apportioned to GAS. The table underneath gives a rundown separated from the affirmed spending plan of the Service during the period 2016 to 2020 demonstrating that the distributed spending plan expanded from GHS141m in 2016 to GHS389.9m in 2020, an astounding increment of 277 percent. Nonetheless, the equivalent can’t be said of the comparing arrival of assets by MOF which just expanded from GHS133m in 2016 to GHS204m in 2019, a rate increment of 154. The insufficiency of designation and arrivals of assets casted a ballot to the Service under Goods and Services hampered the execution of review exercises of the Service in 2016 and thusly the Service couldn’t present any of the nine intrinsically ordered reports to Parliament.

It ought to be noticed that the assets are delivered quarterly financially past due and furthermore at times delivered late with unfavorable effect on the presentation of GAS’s work. As the A-G appropriately watched: “reviews are occasional in nature and, subsequently, necessitate that assets ought to be delivered fortuitously for the Audit Service to do review exercises inside explicit periods, so the quarterly arrival of assets (falling behind financially) influence the effectiv


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