It's a big mistake- Auditor-General wants repealed financial courts brought back

Source: Ghana||
Date: 11th-august-2017 Time:  5:40:55 pm

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The Auditor-General Daniel Domelovo has expressed disappointment that a new law to deepen transparency and accountability does not have teeth to bite.

He said the new Public Financial Management Act (PFMA) neglects to add some provisions found in the old law, the Financial Administration Act which it replaced.

Comparing the two laws, the Auditor General Daniel Domelovo said on Joy News programme Upfront with Raymond Acquah; "the new PFMA act is a good one. It has alot of improvements. But it also has a downside. They didn't look at some very important issues in the old one and repeat it in the new one"

Upfront Domelevo

He identified at least three missing provisions namely sections 15, 16 and 66 of the repealed Financial Administration Act 2003(FAA) which he said were important in carrying out prudent financial administration.

He told host Raymond Acquah, the new Act abolishes the Financial courts found in the old law and which would have played "a very important" role in ensuring the public purse is protected.

Section 66 of the Act empowered the court to among other things, enforce recommendations of the Auditor-General whose reports are further investigated and approved by the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament.

The reports chronicling the sins of public and civil servants have been gathering dust over the years.

Parliament's Public Accounts Committee usually questions indicted officials named in the report and after huffing and puffing, little is done to punish officials engaged in mismanagement and corruption.

The repealed FAA empowered the Chief Justice to set up five financial courts to prosecute those indicted by the Auditor-General.

Only a single case has been filed at the court in the last three years.

Despite the lacklustre use of the financial courts, the Auditor-General believes the legal tool is important in retrieving misappropriated public funds and punishing persons found to have done so.

"That court would have served a very important role" he lamented the "big ommission".

He mentioned Section 15 and his "dearest" provision section 16 which have all found no place in the new law.

Section 15 of the FAA charges the A-G to ensure the financial request on the Controller and Accountant-General's Department have been budgeted for before payments can be made.

Section 16 also ensures that payments for goods and services supplied to the public sector shall not be made unless the head of the institution has certified that the goods have been supplied or service rendered according to the terms of the contract.

"That section, look for it in the PFA Act.I have not found it" he said.

Mr Daniel Domlovo said he has written to the Ministry of Finance to argue his case that "please we have to bring this back quickly"

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