CSOs demonstrate to compel government to ‘protect the purse’
A group calling itself the Coalition for Democratic Accountability and Inclusive Governance is leading a protest to demand accountability in the country.
Among other things, the protestors called on the Auditor-General to disallow and surcharge audit infractions identified in annual reports.
Members of the group hit the office of the Auditor General clad in red on Monday, 5 September 2022, to drive home their demands.
They carried placards with inscriptions such as, “Without responsibility, there cannot be accountability”, “Recover the cash for Education”, “Reporting on corruption and financial waste is not enough, Recover the cash for education”, etc.
“This action is being organized in protest of the Auditor-General’s blatant refusal to perform his constitutionally mandated duty to disallow unlawful public expenditure and surcharge persons implicated in the 2019 and 2020 Auditor-General’s reports, in direct violation of Article 187(7) of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana (‘the Constitution) and the decision of the Supreme Court in Occupy Ghana v Attorney General [2017-2018] 2 SCLRG 527.” the group said in a letter addressed to the police to notify the law enforcement agency about their intentions.
The AG’s report for 2021 mentioned, among other things, that the Ministry of Finance failed to recover loans and advances to the tune of GH¢11,005,582.00 given to public sector workers within the stipulated period.
“We recommended that the Chief Director of the Ministry should liaise with the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department to have the outstanding amounts deducted from the salaries of the staff involved.
“Five accounts of the Ministry were garnished in 2021 as a result of cases brought against other government institutions. The garnishee order resulted in the accounts not being accessible to the Ministry.
“We recommended that the Chief Director should engage the Attorney General on how the accounts could be assessed and also ensure that the cause of the garnishee is investigated, and appropriate sanctions applied to anyone found culpable,” the report explained.
The Supreme Court had earlier ruled that the Auditor-General should surcharge persons engaged in infractions as captured in the report, but the A-G is yet to surcharge persons involved in the offences over the past two years.
Several entities and individuals have passed comments on the report to call for action.
In an interview on TV3, private legal practitioner Godwin Edudzi Tameklo maintained that the A-G’s failure to surcharge is a violation of the ruling of the apex court.