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Fallouts from Auditor-General’s Reports: Accountant urges re-orientation of approving and spending officers

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Government may have to consider a thorough re-orientation for all public-sector accountants, treasurers and other approval officers on public financial management regulations to curb the perennial lapses recorded in the annual reports of the Auditor-General.

An Associate Member of private chartered accounting firm, Beta & Associates, Mr Francis Abudu Zimmaleh who made the suggestion in Accra believes such move will enable spending and approving officers to be updated on changes, transformations and current best practices in public sector financial management to avoid perceived corrupt actions reported by the Auditor-General.

In an interview with ghanabusinessnews.com, Mr Zimmaleh said even though several rules exist to guide the work of spending and approval officers on the utilisation of public funds, it was becoming evident that the relevant persons ought to be retrained and re-oriented.

For close to a decade, the Auditor-General’s Reports on Public Sector Expenditure have raised uproar among the public who are incensed by reported cases of mismanagement and malfeasance.

The situation has prompted the current Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Domelevo to threaten to stop salaries of state institutions who fail to respond to audit queries.

Earlier this year, Mr Dumelevo announced he had disallowed GH¢5.4 billion in overpaid contracts and recommended the prosecution of individuals involved.

But Mr Zimmaleh, a Chartered Accountant himself for many years said there is utmost need to re-school certain key people in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

“The Accountants are like any other professionals. They may need refresher courses and re-orientation about the various changes to the 1992 Constitution, the Financial Administration Act, Audit Service Act and the Public Financial Management Act and get them to align to best practices of today”, he said.

On the latest Corruption Perception Index Report by Transparency International in which Ghana was ranked as one of the most corruption perceived countries, Mr Zimmaleh called for all-hands-on-deck to fight the canker.

He said while he is unamused by the latest findings which he described as damming, he was of the view that too much lip-service had been paid towards the fight against corruption by successive governments over the last two decades.

Ghana was ranked 81st out of 180 countries after dropping 11 places from 2016 in the 2017 corruption perception survey conducted by the global anti-graft agency, transparency international and issued this week.

The Accounting Lecturer and Consultant said the findings have a potential of undermining the country’s efforts at positioning it as a favourable business and investment destination.  

By Emmanuel J.K Arthur

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