Madam Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, has urged internal auditors to go the extra mile to prevent acts of financial malfeasance and to ensure that there is value for money.
Madam Akuffo made the appeal on Tuesday in Accra, when she inaugurated a five-member Internal Audit Committee for the Ministry.
The Committee is under the Chairmanship of Mr Eric Norgbey, a retired Deputy Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority and a representative of the Internal Audit Agency.
Other members of the Committee are Mr Al-Hassan Yahaya Seini, Executive Director, Legal Aid Scheme; Mr Alhassan Fuseini, also a representative of the Internal Audit Agency; Mr Isaac K. Asare of the Institute of Chartered Accountants; and Mrs Helen A. A. Ziwu, Solicitor General.
The induction ceremony was witnessed by Mr Suleiman Ahmed, Chief Director and Mrs Mavis Amoah, Director of Legislative Draft, both of the Ministry of Justice.
Section 86 of the Public Financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921) enjoins Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to establish Audit Committees.
The Minister of Finance in compliance with this provision issued Guidelines for their establishment. The composition of the Committee is thus in accordance with the Guidelines.
The Committees are generally to support and ensure that Internal Audit Units (IAU’s) are functioning effectively.
They are also to ensure that the head of the covered entity pursues the implementation of recommendations contained in both external and internal audit reports, parliament’s decisions on the Auditors General’s reports as well as the reports of internal monitoring units.
Madam Akuffo said she was delighted to have the committee in place; stating that “Admittedly, we should have done this sometimes last year. However, this was not possible due to other assignments. Nevertheless, it is ‘better late than never’.”
“I am hopeful that this Committee will provide me with the requisite professional advice and guidance to ensure that the operations of this Ministry are in conformity with the requirements of the Public Financial Act and other financial laws of the country,” she added.
The Minister said she had no doubt that the Committee would carry out its mandate efficiently considering the impressive qualifications and rich experiences the members bring on board.
“It will be recalled that the Auditor General raised a number of issues with regard to fraud and misuse of public funds, which have plagued the operations of government institutions and which have ripped government of enormous amount of funds needed for the development our nation,” Madam Akuffo said.
“Such flagrant breaches of our laws not only deny the country the needed resources for national development but also erode the confidence of investors in our economy.”
She cited the identification of 80,000 ghost names from the pay-roll and disallowance of claims amounting to GHȼ5.4 billion, which she said, were clear indications of the serious infractions occurring within the MDAs setups.
“With the inauguration of this Committee, it is my expectation that you will provide Management of this Ministry with the relevant advice so that we do not fall foul of the law,” she said.
She also urged the Committee to eschew acts that would put them in conflict of interest situations because that would undermine their integrity.
“I encourage you to work as a team with commitment and dedication. I am ready to offer you any assistance you will require in the efficient discharge of your duties,” Madam Akuffo said.
Mr Norgbey on behalf of his colleagues thanked the Minister for the confidence she had reposed in them and assured that the committee would work hard on its mandate.