General News of Thu, 5 Oct 200695

Corruption has reduced in Ghana

Accra, Oct. 5, GNA - The introduction of the Public Procurement Act and the Financial Administration Account has resulted in the reduction of corruption in the country, Edward Dua Agyeman, Auditor-General, said on Thursday.

He said these measures, in addition to the Inter-Audit Agency Act, had ensured accountability for purchases and spending money adding thatfor the past two to three years Ghana had not done badly. The Auditor-General was interacting with nine Parliamentarians from the United Republic of Tanzania, who called on him to familiarize themselves with the work of the Auditor-General and how his office supported Parliament in the performance of its duties.

The team led my Dr Raphael M. Chegeni, Member of Parliament, are members of an oversight committee dealing with the Controller and Auditor-General in Tanzania, which plays a major role in checks and balances to ensure value for money.

Mr Agyeman said corruption was not found in the public sector alone but in the private sector as well adding that if the private sector did not give bribes to secure contracts, the public sector would not receive them.

He said though the implementation of the Public Procurement Act was quite difficult and had increased the time to procure items, it had led to accountability since some public officials had been sent to court for misuse of funds.

Mr Agyeman said the role of the Audit Service was to provide assurance to Parliament, Government and the public that Government Departments, Ministries and Agencies (MDAs) were operating and accounting for their performance in accordance with the Act of Parliament, the relevant regulations and in public interest.

"In effect, we are the public watchdog helping to ensure that public funds and resources are being properly managed and accounted for."

The Auditor-General's report would continue to spotlight on the significant findings arising from its audit of financial operations of MDAs including financial errors and irregularities, and present recommendations to remedy the weaknesses.

He said the Auditor-General had the power to disallow any item of expenditure that was contrary to law.

Mr Agyeman said the Audit Service was the sole entity specifically created to audit all public sector organizations with a mission to promote good governance in the areas of transparency, accountability and probity in the public financial management system.
He said performance audits did not question the merits of Government policies but examined the Government's management practices, controls and reporting systems based on its own public administration policies and on best practices.

Dr Chegeni said the Tanzania Parliament was beginning a five-year term of Parliamentary process and there was the need to learn from interested areas like the role of the Auditor-General from a sister country like Ghana.

He said of particular concern to them was how independent the Auditor- General was from the Executive arm of Government and how the Auditor-General assisted MPs to understand the reports presented to Parliament to help it to function.

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Source: GNA

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