Internal Audit Agency to punish financial irregularity culprits

The Internal Audit Agency (IAA) is collaborating with prosecutorial institutions such as the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to prosecute persons found to have stolen public funds or engaged in financial irregularities, in contravention of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act, 2016 (Act 921) and the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29).
The agency has also commenced the process to name and shame public institutions that continue to flout the PFM Act and cause financial loss to the state.

The Director-General of the agency, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, who made this known, said the move by the IAA was part of a renewed commitment to fight corruption head on.

“COVID-19 and corruption are the two known pandemics affecting Ghana, and as the government works to contain COVID-19, let us also work to put in place measures to reduce corruption,” Dr Osae said at the opening session of this year’s Internal Audit Conference in Accra yesterday.

IAA conference

The three-day conference is a flagship event of the IAA, as part of its mandate to keep its stakeholder entities abreast of the challenges and progress in the execution of government business, in line with Section 3(3d) of the Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658).

The annual conference is being held on the theme: “Sustaining internal controls, risk management and business continuity in the pubic sector: The role of stakeholders”.

For three days, the participants will network and deliberate on pertinent issues relating to governance, risk management and internal controls in public resource management.

Dr Osae stressed that the practice of citing people for infractions and making recommendations on such persons and institutions involved in infractions in the Auditor-General’s report, without taking action to prosecute them, would no longer be countenanced.

He also said the IAA was repositioning itself to effectively play the preventive role in the fight against corruption.

Dr Osae pointed out that through the diligence of internal auditors and audit committees, the IAA managed to save the country over GH¢235.2 million in the 2020 fiscal year.

“I am happy to report a decline in the annual infractions reported by the Auditor-General for ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) in 2020 by about 32 per cent from GH¢3 billion in 2019 to GH¢2.1 billion in 2020. The gain can be practically attributed to the good work by internal auditors and the various audit committees,” he said.

Amendment of law

For his part, the Chairman of the IAA Board, Mr Joseph B. Winful, said as part of a restructuring process, the IAA had put forward a draft bill to review the IAA Act, 2003 (Act 658) to make the agency a truly independent Internal Audit Service (IAS).

He said the amendment bill, together with a Cabinet memo, had been submitted to the Minister of Finance for the consideration of the Cabinet.

“I am appealing to Members of Parliament to support and approve this bill when it is presented before you,” he pleaded.

Mr Winful noted that the current state of the IAA Act was “a significant impediment” to the agency’s role of ensuring a well-resourced, independent and objective internal audit function in the public sector.

Internal auditors key

In a keynote address to open the conference, the Minister of National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah, said there was the need for the proper retooling of internal auditors to help deal with corruption in the management of state resources.

He said to the extent that corruption and misuse of state resources affected the quality of services in the public sector, efforts needed to be made to retool internal audit functions to improve on PFM regime.

“Internal auditors are able to stop rots before they become rots; so their role is important for us as a country,” he stressed.


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