Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, James Klutse Avedzi has defended the Auditor General for publishing the special audit on the government’s Covid-19 expenditure despite contrary views expressed by the Attorney General.
The Attorney General had insisted that the Auditor General breached the constitution by releasing the document to the public domain prior to its interrogation by the Public Accounts Committee.
In a letter to the Auditor-General, Mr. Johnson Akuamoah-Asiedu, the Attorney General, Godfred Dame said 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.
He added that Article 187(6) of the Constitution requires that Parliament must then debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint, where necessary and in the public interest, a committee to deal with any matters arising from it.
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.
But Mr. Avedzi in an interview on Eyewitness News on 97.3 Citi FM insisted that the Auditor General did not breach the law as alleged by the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.
The Ketu North legislator said Article 187(5) mandates the Auditor General to submit to Parliament, the government’s audited reports not less than six months after the end of the year which the “Auditor has done and fulfilled that provision of the constitution.”
He stressed that the Auditor General only executed his constitutional mandate by publishing the report and admonished that the Attorney General should take measures to amend Section 23 of the Audit Service Act to ensure that the publication is done after the report had been debated by the Public Accounts Committee but until then, the Auditor General is only carrying out his constitutional mandate.
“He [the Auditor General] just went in compliance with the law. The constitution said he should submit the report to Parliament, and he did that. The constitution also said he should publish the report, and he has done that.
“What he should look out for is the lacuna. Section 23 of the Audit Service Act should be amended so that after the Auditor General has submitted the report to Parliament, he should wait until the Public Accounts Committee debates the report before it can be published, but as it stands now, the Auditor General can publish without waiting for a debate on the report by PAC.”