The Audit Service is to audit major road projects in the country to ascertain if they were constructed to specification—length, width, depth and materials used—as part of new measures to ensure that public funds allocated for such projects are well-utilised.
Auditor-General, Daniel Domelevo, launching the 2018 Audits in Accra on the theme ‘Accountability: a shared responsibility’ said: “We see roads constructed and within a year they are gone; so, we are going to buy equipment that will enable us to audit road projects across the country to see if they offer the right value for money”.
He added that: “If for instance the bill of quantities says that you should build 200km of maybe 14ft wide, we are going to go the full length of the road with the contractor to see if we are paying for the right specifications.
“We will do this with the contractor and point out our findings: if we find that the contractor has been inconsistent with the practice, then he/she will have to refund some monies back to the state coffers.”
By way of extending its audits-scope to secure government revenue, the Audit Service’s boss said the outfit is currently training a team of auditors on how to assess large taxpaying businesses such as banks, mining firms and industries.
“Another team is being trained on how to assess banks, mining firms and industries. We will only take a sample of these large taxpayers and re-compute their tax liabilities, and then go to GRA to compare notes to see if they tally.”
Audit Service, GRA combine to block leakages
The Audit Service has indicated that it will join forces with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to block various avenues for revenue-leakage in the public sector.
The initiative, according to the Auditor-General, is in line with its mandate to protect the public purse and help shore-up domestic revenue mobilisation.
The partnership will see the two institutions pool resources to block and recoup monies that are lost through inappropriate public financial management practices.
“We all agree that government is losing a lot of revenue. In public financial management, we find that it is storming at the top but drizzling down below because people in the middle have taken everything.
“People are paying monies which do not get to reach the state’s coffers, so we have agreed to work with the GRA and local authorities to hold revenue collectors accountable and responsible for such losses,” he said.
According to the Auditor-General, Article 187, clause 7 of the constitution empowers the Service to disallow and surcharge persons whose negligence, non-performance or misbehaviour causes the state to lose money.
He added: “It is time we not surcharge only infractions relating to expenditure, but revenue as well. For heads of public institutions who feel that there are some financial management challenges in their outfit, they can draw the Service’s attention to come and look at that area because it is a collective responsibility to protect the public purse”.
Mr. Domelevo said the revenue mobilisation partnership with the GRA extends to monies which come to the country through international trade, as some staff of the Audit Service have undergone training on Customs valuations platforms.
“Our members have been trained on the Customs systems that are used in tax collection. They have been trained on how the warehousing systems work as well as port operations. We can now sit back and assess the system to see if it is bringing in the expected revenues to government,” he remarked.