Amb Edward Boateng presenting the report to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare
AMBASSADOR Edward Boateng, Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the State Interest and Accountability Authority (SIGA), has described some infractions found in the 2021 Auditor General’s report as “school boy mistakes”.
According to him, the infractions recorded in the AG’s report were largely due to a lack of effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation by heads of finance and CEOs of state-owned enterprises (SOEs).
President Akufo-Addo, at a meeting with Board Chairpersons and CEOs of specified entities on October 3, 2022, directed them to investigate the causes of various infractions and irregularities, among others, found in the 2021 audit report. This entailed identifying person(s) responsible for the infractions, irregularities and control weaknesses; as well as making recommendations and ultimately submitting a report within four weeks.
Ambassador Boateng, presenting the final report to the Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, and the Minister for Public Enterprises, yesterday in Accra said: “The committee’s work revealed a lack of effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation on the part of the CEO’s and heads of finance in many instances which is as a result of failure to pay attention to details; and this is what we refer to as class one or school boy mistakes.”
Other infractions he mentioned include “procurement irregularities, misapplication and mismanagement of funds, poor risk management, poor collaboration with the auditors and late release of subventions.”
The committee, therefore, recommended, aside from the imposition of sanctions on specified entities, the training of staff of state-owned enterprises on the Public Financial Management Act, 2016(Act 921)and its Regulators, the Public Procurement Act 2003, Act (663) as amended in the SIGA Act 2019.
Chief of Staff, Akosua Frema Osei-Opare, who received the report on behalf of the President, asked SOEs to prioritise the preparation of their respective management and audited accounts on a timely manner while collaborating with SIGA and the Office of the Auditor-General to clear backlogs of unaudited accounts by the end of the year.
The Chief of Staff, however, assured SIGA of government’s readiness to address some inconsistencies in the SIGA Act which posed challenges in the discharge of their mandate.
Minister for Public Enterprises, Joseph Cudjoe, on his part, urged Board members and management of specified entities and relevant stakeholders to consider the findings and work with them to achieve the needed results.
“I am confident, with discipline, efficiency and diligence of work towards the discharge of our responsibilities owed to the shareholders, we will be able to attain the President’s vision for the specified entities,” he noted.
Deputy Auditor General, John Godfred Addison, who bemoaned the situation where management of SOEs failed to collaborate with their internal auditors in the discharge of their duties, said that was responsible for a lot of the infractions mentioned in the 2021 Auditor General’s report.
He added that these could have been avoided if management of SOEs had collaborated with internal auditors in their work.
He also asked all SOEs to submit their audited management accounts for 2022 by April 28, 2023 in order to minimise the infractions and irregularities.
BY Ebenezer K. Amponsah