Economy

Prioritise preparation of audited accounts in a timely manner -Chief of Staff tells CEOs

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The Chief of Staff, Madam Frema Akosua Opare, has asked heads of Specified Entities (SE’s) and State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs) to prioritise the preparation of their respective management and audited accounts in a timely manner and mainstream appropriate implementation measures detailed in the 2021 Auditor-General’s report.

Her comments follow the Auditor-General’s report on the accounts of Public Boards, Corporations, and other Statutory Institutions for the fiscal year

ended 31 December 2021 highlighted operational and financial irregularities caused by the Specified Entities’ failure to adhere to controls in 2021.

Speaking at the presentation of the 2021 Audit Infractions Joint Report at the State Interests and Governance Authority (SIGA) office in Accra, she said “all SOEs are expected to mainstream appropriate implementation measures to carry out the recommendations detailed in this report.”

According to her, government expect all SOEs to ensure it: prioritises the preparation of their respective management and audited accounts in a timely manner, collaborate with SIGA and Office of the Auditor-General to urgently clear the backlog of unaudited accounts by end of year, prepare management responses to audit queries and red flags raised by auditors. Keep an updated Asset Register and land title registrations at all times.

She also urged management of Specified Entities to ensure it pays monitoring fees which she says was mandatory, as SIGA requires these funds to effectively carry out its mandate.

The President in October 3, 2022 charged SIGA and the Auditor-General Department, to investigate the causes of infractions cited in the 2021 Audit Report, identify persons responsible, and to make recommendations as prescribed by law.

The Deputy Auditor- General, Mr. Godfred Addison, indicated that by February 28, 2022, names of heads of SEs/SOs will be published in the newspapers if they fail to submit their audited accounts.

He blamed most of the infractions in the report as the inability to allow internal auditors to work freely as well as breach of procurement laws and lack of control systems.

“Internal auditors are not being allowed to work that is the reason, we meet infractions unresolved. Controls are not working; people get monies and they do not account for it and yet they keep getting more to work with.”

The Minister of Public Enterprises, Joseph Cudjoe, urged all heads of SEs/SOEs to commit to implement the recommendations in order not for the effort to go in vain, he also pointed out that not all the infractions in the report are as a result of corruption or stolen monies but non-compliance issues.

The Director General of SIGA, Amb. Edward Boateng, stated that the report highlighted lack of effective supervision, monitoring and evaluation on the part of CEO’s, misapplication and misappropriations of funds in some instances, procurement irregularities and risk management.

Further, he recommended that people who are appointed to such high level should have training on the Public Financial Management Act and Public Procurement Act.

Amb. Boateng also disclosed the intent of his Authority to work with Governing Bodies of Specified Entities to develop asset revaluation policies and subsequently implement them to meet best accounting practices.

“I want to share with you SIGA’s plan to collaborate with Specified Entities to embark on an asset revaluation exercise this year”, he said.

Also in attendance was the Minister for Public Enterprises, Hon. Joseph Cudjoe, Deputy Auditor General Mr. Godfred Addison, Mr. Frank Mante of the Public Procurement Authority, Mr. Mac-Effort Adadey of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department, and Dr. Eric Oduro Osae of the Internal Audit Agency, amongst others.

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