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Allow Auditor-General to audit GRA, SML contract – OccupyGhana

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Occupy Ghana has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to allow the Auditor-General to audit the contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML).

It also advised him to rescind his hiring of a private audit company to perform the audit and to follow Article 187 on the subject.

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According to OccupyGhana, Article 187 of the Constitution envisioned instances in which public interest in the financial affairs of public auditee organizations (such as through GRA) would need special audits.

OccupyGhana pointed out that Article 187(8) expressly stated that when such issues emerged, the Council of State should notify the President that a “Article 187(8) Public Interest Audit” was necessary.

“Indeed, and in practice, the President may seek and then obtain that advice. Then, the President would request the Auditor-General to conduct the audit.

“This provision in Article 187 is so critical and significant that the Constitution specifically sets it down as the only instance where a President has the power to request the independent Auditor-General to do anything.”

As a result, OccupyGhana encouraged the Council of State to offer its advice to the President on the topic.

It said that if the Council of State and/or the President failed, disregarded, or refused to comply with Article 187, the Auditor-General should initiate and conduct an independent special audit under Section 16 of the Audit Service Act.

OccupyGhana stated that it had received and read a letter dated January 2, 2023, issuing from the President’s Office, which directed an audit of the contract between the GRA and SML, adding that the deal had piqued the public’s curiosity in recent days.

While the organization welcomed both the public interest audit and the expected Parliamentary probe into the situation, it was concerned that the President’s choice of a private audit firm to conduct the audit could be unconstitutional as it ignored direct constitutional provisions made and meant to address such situations.

According to the statement, Ghana should not waste time and money on an audit that may turn out to be unlawful and hence worthless, opening the door to legal challenges.

It stated that allowing the Auditor-General to perform the special audit in conformity with Article 187(8) of the Constitution would cost Ghana nothing.

“The several advantages of complying with the constitutional provision include, critically, giving the Auditor-General the opportunity under Article 187(7)(b) to disallow payments found to be contrary to the law and then to surcharge (1) “any expenditure disallowed upon the person responsible for incurring or authorizing the expenditure” and/or (2) “the amount of any loss or deficiency, upon any person by whose negligence or misconduct the loss or deficiency has been incurred.”

 

 

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