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21st September 2018

Reconsider the role of Governing Boards for independent institutions – Auditor-General

Reconsider the role of Governing Boards for independent institutions – Auditor-General

The Auditor General, Mr. Daniel Yaw Domelevo has urged government to reconsider the role of governing boards for institutions which the constitution has categorised as independent. This will help reduce the tendency of conflicts in such institutions.

Mr. Domelevo made the plea on Thursday 20 September, 2018 in Accra at the 3rd Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Memorial Lecture to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the late former Finance Minister. Mr. Domelevo who delivered the lecture said many countries across the globe have either scrapped the existence of governing boards or made them advisory bodies instead of supervisory bodies for special purpose institutions.

He said, Sierra Leone borrowed the Audit Service Act 2000, Act 584 and had made their Board an advisory body. If you go to Kenya he cited, their board is an advisory one while in many others they do not have it at all.

The AG reiterated that Article 187 (7) (a) provides that in the performance of his functions under the Constitution or any other law the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority. He appealed that all must help to enforce the laws in our constitution to ensure that the Auditor-General keeps the gate shut before the horse bolts.

The A-G also noted in his speech that the inclination to appoint former public servants or Chief Executives to their old positions or as a member of the Board also leaves a lot to be desired. He said such official’s exploit their relationship with the staff to obtain inside information to pursue other agendas noting that it is for this and other corporate governance statuses that many advance countries do not have Boards for the Office of the Auditor-General.

He pointed out four main principles in Public Service of Ghana which were that: Public Service is governed by laws and universal principles of corporate governance do not override the laws of Ghana; After Budgets are approved by Parliament, Section 25 (3) provides that the Principal Spending Officer shall commit the budget of the entity- not the board; The Public Procurement Acts- 2003 and 2016- gives no roles to the Boards of entities; and Internal Audit reports administratively to the Principal Spending Officer and functionally to the Audit \Committee. He ended by saying that “Change the law if you are not happy with them but please don’t start amending them in your board meetings and during radio and television discussions”

The Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Memorial Lecture was established in 2014 to recognize and immortalize the life and works of Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu a Chartered Accountant, Politician and Public Servant, who died in office whilst serving as Ghana’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning. The Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu Memorial Lectures are organised under the generic theme of sound management and accounting for Ghana’s public finances. This year’s Lecture was under the theme “Protecting the Public Purse-keeping the gate shut before the horse bolts”