K&A Accounting Services, a private firm appointed by the board will audit the travels from Domelevo as well as other top management staff of the Audit Service from 2017 to 2020.
According to reports by the Daily Graphic, the private firm is expected to audit GH¢2.1 million and $199,000 “spent on foreign travels by the Auditor-General and top management staff.”
Domelevo challenges private firm
Earlier, Domelevo described as illegal attempts by the Audit Service to engage the services of the private accounting firm, K&A Accounting Services to audit the foreign travels of management at the office of the Auditor-General.
He said the appointment of the accounting firm is a violation of Articles 187(15) of the constitution which provided that “the accounts of the office of the Auditor-General shall be audited and reported upon by an auditor appointed by parliament.”
He also said the mandate of the Audit Service Board is circumscribed by Article 189 of the constitution that is the board in consultation with public service commission (a) appoints staff other than the Auditor-General, (b) determines the terms and conditions of service of the staff, and (c) by constitutional instrument, makes regulations for the effective and efficient administration of the Audit Service.
Advancing more arguments why the audit is not grounded in law, the Auditor-General also clarified that:
- Article 189 of the Constitution does not mandate the Audit Service Board to commission audits – consequently, the accounting firm so appointed lacks the mandate to audit, review or examine documents and/or records relating to the accounts of the Office of the Auditor-General.
- The appointment is inconsistent with and violates several legislations including Section 16 of the Audit Service Act 2000, Regulation 6 of the Audit Service Regulations 2011, Section 25(3) of the Public Financial Management Act 2016, and Sections 14, 15,16, 21, 66(3) among others of the Public Procurement Act 2003 (as amended); and the payment of audit fees and any related expenses resulting from this appointment may not be a lawful charge against public funds.
Audit Service Board responds
But the Audit Service Board in response said it was within its mandate, as prescribed by law, to appoint the private firm to engage in the activity being complained about by the Auditor-General.
A letter, signed by the Chairman of the Audit Service Board, Professor Edward Dua Agyeman, dated October 8, this year and addressed to Domelevo, accused him (Domelevo) of preaching accountability and “claims to be fighting corruption, yet unwilling to subject himself and his office to audit scrutiny.”
The Audit Service Board also denied breaching any law in commissioning the audit.
Prof. Dua Agyeman said per Article 189 (3) (b) of the 1992 Constitution, the board had the power to make regulations through a constitutional instrument “for the effective and efficient administration of the Audit Service”.
In view of Article 189 (3) (b), he said, the board came out with the Audit Service Regulations, 2011 (C.I.70), which states that it (board) shall be “ultimately accountable and responsible for the overall performance of the Audit Service and also secure its public sector financial management and accountability process of the country”.
Prof. Dua Agyeman added that it was the duty of the board to ensure accountability of all funds entrusted to the Audit Service.
‘In that instance, the Board observes that the Auditor-General and the top management staff of the service had made many official travels out of the country, without producing any reports to the board or with nothing to show for such travels,” he said.
Also, he said, the board engaged the consultants based on Section 8 of Act 584 which “allows the board to engage the services of such consultants and other experts as it may consider necessary for the efficient discharge of the duties of the service”.