NPP backs Attorney General on concerns raised over Covid audit report

The governing New Patriotic Party is in support of the position adopted by the Attorney General against the publication of the special audit report on government’s Covid-19 expenditure.

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Dame in a letter to the Auditor-General, Mr. Johnson Akuamoah-Asiedu, argued that Article 187(5) of the Constitution mandates the Auditor-General to submit his report to Parliament and in that report, draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited which is often concurrently published with the submission.

According to the Attorney General, it is only after satisfying the constitutional requirement of submitting the Auditor General’s report to Parliament, the subsequent debate by Parliament thereon, and the conclusion of work by the appropriate committee of Parliament, that the report of the Auditor-General may be considered final and relevant action may be taken thereon.

The chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, James Klutse Avedzi in an earlier interview shared a varied opinion. He said the current law directs the Auditor General to publish audited reports so until the law is changed, the Auditor General cannot be blamed.

But speaking on Eyewitness News, the Director of Communications for the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Richard Ahiagbah has sided with the Attorney General saying the publication of the audit report is premature.

Mr. Ahiagbah insisted that the publication of the Covid-19 report before PAC’s interrogation of persons indicted doesn’t give room for explanations and corrections if any.

Mr. Ahiagbah said “what we have studied based on the report having been published before going through the full processes shows some breaches of audit protocols.”

“Some of the explanations that have come following some of the expenditures that have been flagged show clearly that if there was diligent work not only on the part of the Auditor General but also on the part of the agency’s officials. Some of the items that were cited could have been explained,” he added.

He further intimated that there is a need for the publication to be done after the report has been debated by the Public Accounts Committee “so as not to create the impression that something has been done wrong and amounts to corruption when nothing has happened.”