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Publication of audit reports prior to parliamentary scrutiny unconstitutional – Attorney-General

The Attorney General and Minister of Justice says the Auditor-General (A-G) has no power to publish his audit reports until it is submitted to and same is debated by Parliament. 

Mr Godred Dame said any such action(s) is unconstitutional per the dictates of Article 187(5) of the 1992 Constitution. 

According to him, Article 187(5) mandates the Auditor-General to submit his report to Parliament for scrutiny and take the necessary action if any is required. 

Mr Yeboa Dame made this known in a letter to the Auditor-General on Tuesday, February 7, over the publication of the audit report on government’s expenditure of Covid-19 funds. 

“Article 187(5) of the Constitution mandates the Auditor-General to submit his report to Parliament and in that report, draw attention to any irregularities in the accounts audited. 

“Section 16 of the Audit Service Act, 2000 (Act 584) clearly indicates that reports on special audits and reviews, as the one conducted in respect of the COVID-19 transactions, are subject to the requirement for the Auditor-General to submit the reports to Parliament,” excerpts of the letter sighted by said. 

The Attorney-General added that “Article 187(6) of the Constitution requires Parliament to debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint, where necessary and in the public interest, a committee to deal with any matters arising from it. 

“This is repeated in section 21 of Act 584. Over the years, the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (PAC) seems to be the committee designated by Parliament to interrogate issues arising out of the Auditor-General’s reports. 

“It is only after satisfying the constitutional requirement of submitting the auditor general’s report to Parliament, the subsequent debate by Parliament thereon and conclusion of work by the appropriate committee of Parliament, that the report of the Auditor-General may be considered final and relevant action may be taken thereon.“

The Attorney-General also said while he is “mindful of the provision in section 23 of Act 584 which seems to mandate a publication of the reports as soon as they have been presented to the Speaker to be laid before Parliament,” “the laws governing the functions of the Auditor-General ought to be construed as a whole.”

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