The Honorary Vice President of IMANI Africa has stated that the 2020 Auditor General’s report has failed to address crucial matters because the Audit Service is politically coloured.
“This tendency of this particular Audit Service regime; the 2020 regime not to get involved in controversial matters because they have a political colouration of some kind. We have concerns about this tendency to shy away from tackling political issues,” he told host, Samson Lardy Anyenini on JoyNews‘ Newsfile Saturday.
Mr Bright Simons bemoaned the absence of thorough reports on institutions such as the Ghana Airports Company Limited, National Lottery Authority (NLA) and the Electoral Commission (EC). According to Mr Simons, there is sufficient reports on NLA by the Multimedia Group Limited and other organisations, however, none of them has been captured in the report.
“In some cases, you’ll find a diligent auditor who has 20 pages of analyzes, including the CCTV performance of the Police and you have another report and it is 3 paragraphs and those of us in civil societies that deal with this all the time, know there is far more going on.
“Take the Ghana Airports Company Limited matter, we’ve dealt deeply into Frontiers, we know there are a lot of irregularities in Frontiers. They didn’t mention Frontiers at all. We’ve dealt deeply into National Lottery Authority. Joy FM did investigations, we saw some of those reports. We have far more data on that. Huge irregularities at National Lottery Authority, huge loses. None of that mentioned in the section on the National Lottery Authority.
“We have done extensive studies on the Electoral Commission, by far the most abusive of all the state institutions in the county, to the point where repeatedly, they are not audited because they refuse to give you the information.
“We know for sure that they bought devices in 2018/19. They came to tell people in Ghana that million of dollars spent on these devices have not been spent at all. That in fact, they have not bought devices since 2011. We knew that to be false. Where is the asset audit of the Electoral Commission.”
He, therefore quizzed, “why is the acting Auditor General hiding from doing their duty and going there and subjecting them to audit?”
His comments come as response to the 2020 Auditor General’s report that revealed that GH¢12.85 billion irregularities, equivalent to $918.28 million was committed in 2020 by public boards, corporations and other statutory institutions.
Mr Simons noted that the report did not focus on the essential issues.
“If you go into an audit situation and you report everything you see, you create a situation where you are hiding important gems in a sea of nonsense. So what we have is that most people don’t read the Auditor General’s report because it is 1,000 pages, much of it insignificant and heavily concentrated problems which are hugely significant and which we should focus on. “
According to him, the Auditor General’s report should have focused on “the deteriorating loan book at SSNIT, issues to do with single sourcing and procurement abuse at GNPC. But when you have a situation where GHC44. 00 owed by Coca Cola bottling company to Cocoa Clinic in Kumasi has been reported, why should a Member of Parliament be worried about Coca Cola Company owing GHC44 to Cocoa Clinic.”
He further sighted some information, in the report, which according to him, are irrelevant.
“There is one instance where somebody is mentioned that she has not retired her imprest. A certain Patricia Amankwaah. This is not material and if you put all of that stuff in a report, you create these giant reports that nobody reads, we get lost and not delve into it.
“In the loans and debt irregularities category in 2020 for core government, as much as 91 per cent of those irregularities are debts that are owed by medical facilities in the public sector to private sector suppliers of medicines and medical products. If a hospital in Ghana cannot pay its debt, why is that a loss to the state? I’m not sure I understand the logic and how is that a potential for savings.”
The Honorary Vice President of IMANI Africa advised that there should be more structured and rigorous analysis of irregularities.
“I think that we need to get into some more structured and rigorous analysis of what we mean by irregularities and get into a sub classification where in addition to the source classification into seven categories, for each of them, we take class one category and explain that indeed this is a loss to the state,” he suggested.