New and young lawyers can be scouted to take up the prosecution of corruption cases so as to earn a living from the retrieval of monies, Auditor-General Daniel Yaw Domelevo has suggested. He noted that this system will hasten justice delivery.
“Instead of you alone deciding to prosecute a person, a group of lawyers can come together, investigate a case, take it to court and recover the money; they can actually earn their living on that. The United States does that.
“These lawyers can live on fighting corruption, and in that case you don’t need any political leadership from one person. If we can commercialise prosecution of corruption, no one will wait for government or the Special Prosecutor,” he told members of the Special Budget Committee of Parliament when they paid a working visit to the Audit Service head office in Accra last month.
“We can find these new lawyers who have just finished school and don’t have any chamber to belong to. They can come together with a group of accountants, engineers – people who can provide them with technical support. They will investigate serious cases like this and go to court themselves; and if the law provides that 10 percent of whatever they save is theirs, they would like to pursue this course.
“If they see GH¢10billion they will go for it, and I think it is something the country should start thinking about – commercialising the fight against corruption,” he added.
Mr. Domelevo also stated that the next audit the Service intends to carry out is a construction audit: “We are thinking that we will venture into the construction business and see whether we are getting value for money”.
He indicated that it is a legal requirement expected of them to ensure that public funds are used for the intended purposes; and create fiscal space for government to have money to undertake other initiatives.
Mr. Domelevo also expressed worry about the delays in their releases [budgetary allocation], and urged the Committee through Parliament to continue their dialogue with the Ministry of Finance to ensure timely release.
For 2018, the Audit Service has so far received GH₵83million as actual cash out of an approved budget of GH₵218m.
“As of now, the release that came is quite substantial; but I wish we had gotten it a bit earlier, because the earlier our reports the more relevant they are – because we are talking about wastage, abuse of public funds, how to go in and stop the leakage.
“So, the more it delays in identifying the leakage, the more we lose as a country” he added.
In order to ensure that the Auditor-General’s report or recommendation does not gather dust, they have collaborated with the Office of the Special Prosecutor – which will pursue the criminal aspect of financial misappropriation or infractions.
Acting chairman of the Special Budget Committee, Philip Basoah, commended the Service’s progress so far in its quest to save the nation from annual financial misappropriation by state institutions.
He assured the Service that its concerns and challenges will be carried to the legislature and duly addressed.
The Vice-chairman for the Committee, Haruna Iddrisu, indicated that the country’s payroll system should be subjected to audit scrutiny and also suggested privatisation of the country’s payroll in order to minimise corruption.
He also commended the Service for its initiatives in the construction and procurement sectors, maintaining that it is important to have value for money as well as communities also getting to know the amount government is spending on a particular project.
The Special Budget Committee considers the budget of Parliament and other constitutionally independent bodies, including the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ), National Media Commission(NMC), Electoral Commission(EC) and National Commission on Civic Education(NCCE).