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'Raw state' of Auditor-General's reports can erode public confidence - Kwamena Duncan

Kwamena Duncan 9 Former Minister for Central Region, Kwamena Duncan

Thu, 26 Jan 2023 Source:

Former Minister for Central Region, Kwamena Duncan has cautioned against the eager speed at which Auditor-General's reports are released to the public, claiming it could erode the confidence of the people.

The report, he noted, when released without due process is observed undermines the country's governance system.

Kwamena Duncan touched on the recent Auditor-General's report on government's expenditure on the Coronavirus pandemic.

The report revealed how poor some COVID-19 funds generated from between March 2020 to June last year were used.

"The Ministry of Finance mobilised a total amount of GH¢19,112,318,205.12 in 2020 to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The records showed that an amount of GH¢1,978,551,137.46 was mobilised in 2021 and GH¢753,319,842.66 (up to June 2022) to finance the Coronavirus Alleviation Programme and the implementation of the Ghana COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan. In all, a total amount of GH¢21,844,189,185.24 was mobilised to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana."

The Ministry of Health "without the approval of the Central Tender Review Committee, increased the cost of five contracts with total contract sum of GH¢24,256,500.00 by GH¢4,017,000.00 through variation orders" and recommended that the "Chief Director should seek retroactive approval to avoid disallowance of such variation amount", according to the report.

It further indicated that the Ministry "on behalf of Government of Ghana paid an amount of US$120,192,379.80 to UNICEF/AVAT for the supply of vaccines. However, 5,109,600.00 doses of vaccines valued at US$38,322,000.00 were supplied to the National Cold Room leaving a difference of US$81,870,379.80 with UNICEF/AVAT".

Following the report, critics have lashed out at the Akufo-Addo administration with political opponents of the government capitalizing on the issues.

Responding to the criticisms, Kwamena Duncan stated that the report "whilst it is a watchdog policy of our democratic governance, it could also be very undermining. It could draw the confidence of our people in democracy backward if care is not taken".

He explained that "if we don't allow the processes to go through, as for auditors, what they see is what they write; so if you are to dwell solely on the Auditor-General's report, you might err".

To him, he prefers, when there is an audit of this sort, the processes of accountability by way of giving the accused persons opportunity to respond to the findings should be thoroughly done before the report comes out.

"Over the years, what has been happening is that the Auditor-General comes public in the raw state . . . What that does is that it continues to undermine public confidence in the governance structures and the governance system," he told Nana Yaw Kesseh on Peace FM's "Kokrokoo" morning show.

"I am afraid our democracy will be on the precipice" should this continue to happen, he asserted.

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