Blame Auditor General For Unpaid Judgement Debts – Ace Ankomah

Private Legal Practitioner and member of Occupy Ghana, Lawyer Ace Ankomah says the Auditor General’s Department has to be blamed for the country’s frequent corruption issues especially in the Public Sector for failing to exercise powers given to it by the Constitution.

“All the Auditor in charge has to do is to write to persons who have been found liable to judgment debts out of an audit they have conducted telling them of the charge leveled against them,” he said.

According to him after sending this letter to the debtors, it is not for the Auditor General to enforce the collection of the money in question; his duty here is to just charge the victims of the judgment debt, so the victim under the law of the land would have to pay back the debt caused in 60 days.

Copies of the latter served the debtor from the office of the Auditor General must be sent to parliament and the Attorney General.

He said the Auditor-General, Richard Quartey has failed to hold persons found to have misappropriated State money accountable.

The Audit Service Act 584, 2000 clothes the Auditor-General with power to examine accounts of government institutions and “express his opinion as to whether the accounts present fairly financial information in accordance with the applicable statutory provisions, stated accounting policies of the Government and is in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and essentially consistent with that of the preceding year.”

However, the Attorney General will then go to court in civil action to recover the money from the victim if he/she fails to pay back the debt incurred within 60 days after he was served the letter from the office of the auditor in charge. Persons involved can both be from both public and private sectors.

Speaking to Joy FM, Lawyer Ankomah angrily lamented that “I just can’t imagine that all this brouhaha about Wayome’s debt will not have occurred when the Auditor General in charge goes by the processes set up by law when he first found out that the payment made to him was illegal.  Including a fair charge on those who paid the money to him and any other person involved, we would have had a different dialogue today. We might on a serious note have recovered all our monies by now instead of being told that he wants to pay in three years when the law has not said that.”

He mentioned that it would be best when citizens take this matter up by asking the Auditor General on why he is not acting per the laws binding his office than leave him as he causes more harm.

He noted that there is another law of the land passed by the AFRC in 1992 which says if a contractor is paid money that is due him, both the contractor and the government official who certified the payment, after they have been put before court and trialed must refund three times the amount lost to the nation.

“But this law since passed according to him has never been applied since officials have been behaving as if this law does not exist,” he said.