OccupyGhana, a pressure group, has requested President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to permit the Auditor-General to audit the contract between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Strategic Mobilisation Limited (SML).
It has also urged him to revoke his appointment of a private audit firm to conduct the audit and adhere to Article 187 on the matter.
OccupyGhana in a statement said Article 187 of the Constitution foresaw situations where public interest in the financial matters of public auditee institutions (such as through GRA) might necessitate special audits.
OccupyGhana pointed out that Article 187(8) specifically provided that when such matters arose, the Council of State should advise the President that an “Article 187(8) Public Interest Audit” was required.
“Indeed, and in practice, the President may seek and then obtain that advice. Then, the President would request the Auditor-General to conduct the audit.
“This provision in Article 187 is so critical and significant that the Constitution specifically sets it down as the only instance where a President has the power to request the independent Auditor-General to do anything.”
OccupyGhana, therefore, urged the Council of State to send its advice to the President on the matter.
It said if the Council of State and/or the President failed, neglected, or refused to comply with Article 187, the Auditor-General should commence and conduct a special audit on his own under Section 16 of the Audit Service Act.
OccupyGhana said it had seen and read a letter dated January 2, 2023, emanating from the Office of the President that directed an audit to be conducted into the contract between the GRA and SML, adding that the contract had attracted a lot of public interest in recent days.
The group said while they welcomed both a public interest audit and the announced Parliamentary inquiry into the matter, it was concerned that the President’s choice of a private audit firm to conduct the audit could be unconstitutional as it ignored direct constitutional provisions made and meant to address such situations.
In the statement, OccupyGhana said Ghana should not spend time and money on an audit that may turn out to be unconstitutional and, therefore, worthless, leaving room for legal challenges.
It said Ghana would lose nothing if the Auditor-General was allowed to conduct the special audit in accordance with Article 187(8) of the Constitution.
“The several advantages of complying with the constitutional provision include, critically, giving the Auditor-General the opportunity under Article 187(7)(b) to disallow payments found to be contrary to the law and then to surcharge (1) “any expenditure disallowed upon the person responsible for incurring or authorizing the expenditure” and/or (2) “the amount of any loss or deficiency, upon any person by whose negligence or misconduct the loss or deficiency has been incurred.”