Vice President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia has stated that the current aggressive posture of the Auditor General combined with the renowned anti-corruption tendencies of the newly appointed Special Prosecutor is the clearest evidence yet of the Nana Akufo-Addo-led government’s determination to fight the canker of corruption.
Speaking at the 8th Annual Accountability Lectures and the launching of the 2017 Financial Year’s Audit organised by the Ghana Audit Service on Monday, the Vice President said government is more determined than ever to block any leakages in the system, and expects the relevant agencies to play their part in the fight against corruption.
“I am happy that finally government has been able to establish the Office of the Special Prosecutor in spite of some initial challenges,” Dr Bawumia said.
“This is in line with the government’s determination to fight corruption and protect the public purse for national development. It is my expectation and belief that the Auditor General and the Special Prosecutor will work closely in ensuring sound and effective public financial management in the country.”
He emphasized the need for the two institutions to work hard to bring to book any corrupt public official, be it a politician or public servant, without fear or favour.
“With the current posture of the Auditor General and what we know about the Special Prosecutor, I can say with confidence that the desire of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and this government to protect the public purse will come to pass sooner than later.”
Acknowledging the importance of timely and accurate information in the fight against corruption, Vice President Bawumia indicated that government is working assiduously with Parliament to pass the Right to Information Bill – which has been in the works for the past 17 years – soon.
“Government holds the firm conviction that the works of the Auditor-General and Special Prosecutor can be enhanced when they have unfettered access to information. Mr. Chairman, President Akufo-Addo has directed that work on the Right to Information Bill be expedited for its passage this year; and I am assuring Ghanaians that the Right to Information Bill will soon become the law of the land.”
The Vice President pledged government’s commitment to ensuring the independence of the Auditor General.
“I am sure the Auditor-General can testify that since coming into office, this government has not interfered with his work. In fact, I can assure you that not only will we not interfere with your work, we will rather provide the right environment for the Auditor-General to continue doing his job.”
He further said, “I can assure you, Mr. Auditor-General and the Audit Service Board that, on our part as government we would make every effort to provide you with the needed resources for your work. We have already demonstrated it by increasing your budget for goods and services from GH¢14 million in 2016, to GH¢19 million in 2017, and almost doubling it to GH¢35 million in the 2018 budget.
The 8th Annual Accountability Lectures and launching of 2017 Financial Year’s Audit organised by the Ghana Audit Service was under the theme ‘Protecting the Public Purse – Our Commitment towards Ghana’s Development Agenda’.
Other speakers at the event included the US Ambassador, Robert P. Jackson, the Chairman of the Board of the Audit Service, Prof Edward Dua Agyemang, and the Auditor General, Paul Yaw Domelevo.
A number of former Auditors-General including Mr Osei Tutu Prempeh, Prof Dua Agyemang and Mr Richard Quartey were honoured at the event.