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13 February 2017

Law forcing Auditor-General to recover misappropriated funds passed

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A three-year-long campaign by anti-corruption crusaders, OccupyGhana, to get the Auditor-General to enforce its powers to recover misappropriated public funds has yielded success.

OccupyGhana’s proposals on how the chief state auditor can enforce its constitutional powers of Disallowance and Surcharge has been passed into law.

The pressure group has been battling the Auditor-General’s Department since 2014, urging the agency to enforce its constitutional and statutory powers of Disallowance and Surcharge to enable the country to recover billions of misappropriated public funds through blatant and largely unpunished public sector corruption.

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Read details below:

OCCUPYGHANA’S PROPOSALS PASSED INTO LAW IN GHANA

OccupyGhana® is happy to announce that it has just received a copy of the High Court (Civil Procedure) (Amendment) (No. 2) Rules, 2016 (CI 102), which regulates appeals to the High Court from the Auditor-General’s Disallowances and Surcharges.

Since 12th November 2014 OccupyGhana® has been battling the Auditor-General, urging him to exercise the constitutional and statutory powers of Disallowance and Surcharge, and thereby help Ghana to recover the billions of Cedis that are lost to the nation each year through blatant and largely unpunished public sector corruption.

In the course of that engagement, OccupyGhana® discovered that the requirement under Article 187(10) of the Constitution for the enactment of rules of court to regulate appeals against the Auditor-General’s Disallowances and Surcharges had not been complied with. On 28th May 2015, OccupyGhana wrote to the Rules of Court Committee to inquire about those rules. As a result of the subsequent interactions, OccupyGhana was invited to submit, and submitted to the Rules of Court Committee, proposed draft rules for enactment as required under Article 187(10). Subsequently, OccupyGhana received for its comments, the draft bill which captured almost verbatim, the proposals we had made.

It has always been OccupyGhana’s contention that the Auditor-General has more power to commence the process of recovering monies lost to Ghana by issuing the Disallowances and Surcharges, than the simple annual ritual of issuing ‘journalistic’ Reports to Parliament containing mere “recommendations.” Indeed, in the words of the Auditor-General in the 2011 and 2013 Reports to Parliament, “The cataloguing of financial irregularities in my Report on MDAs and Other Agencies has become an annual ritual that seems to have no effect.”

In our conservative estimates based on the Auditor-General’s own Reports to Parliament from 2003 to 2014 (excluding 2009), Ghana lost almost GH¢2.5 Billion through Ministries, Department and Agencies alone. And between 2009 and 2014, amounts lost to Ghana through Public Boards, Corporations and Other Statutory Institutions were over GH¢5 Billion.

It is the continued, blatant theft of the nation’s monies through public sector corruption and the apparent unwillingness of the Auditor-General to exercise the powers of Disallowance and Surcharge, that compelled OccupyGhana to reluctantly commence proceedings before the Supreme Court on 21st July 2016. That matter is still pending, and on 31st January 2017 the Supreme Court directed the parties to file further arguments on the matter.

As we wait for this matter to be concluded in court or settled out of court if the Auditor-General simply issues the required Disallowances and Surcharges, we are gratified to witness the enactment of these rules, CI 102, which we have taken the liberty to christen “The OG Rules.” But more importantly, it shows that any labour for mother Ghana is not in vain. We also express our sincere gratitude to the Rules of Court Committee, and particularly Her Ladyship the Chief Justice for the opportunity to work together on this matter. It is in the same spirit that we reiterate our long-expressed willingness to drop the court action the day the Auditor-General issues the first Disallowances and Surcharges.

Yours, in the perpetual Service for God & Country

OccupyGhana®

 

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