State can only retrieve monies based on strong evidence - Auditor General

Ghana Politics

Politics / Ghana Politics 21 Views

Auditor General Daniel Domelevo says he has started gathering the needed evidence to reinforce his powers of disallowance and surcharge. 

He said he has to meticulously build a file which has evidence for each of the cases before proceeding.

On Wednesday the Supreme Court ordered the Auditor General to issue disallowance and surcharges in respect of all state monies found to have been expended contrary to law in granting all the reliefs sought by pressure group, OccupyGhana.

According to the Court, the Auditor-General must issue disallowance and surcharges in respect of all state monies found to have been expended contrary to law. 

The second relief granted by the Court is that the Auditor-General must take steps to recover all amounts lost to the state, and this covers private persons. 

The Attorney-General has also been ordered to ensure enforcement of the orders including criminal prosecution where necessary.

OccupyGhana has been waging war against the lethargic attitude of Auditors-General whom it accused of not applying the law and protecting the public purse.

Sometimes the public officers make admissions before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament but none is ever held accountable or punished.

OccupyGhana has argued strenuously that the Auditor-General has the power to disallow expenditures which are not in conformity with the law and to surcharge those responsible.

The group engaged the Auditor-General demanding him to apply the law and recover the billions that went into the drain but the then Auditor-General didn't appear willing or capable of doing this.

Members of OccupyGhana who were in court last Wednesday expressed excitement after the judgment was read by Justice Sophia Akuffo.

They believe the court's decision will be applied to retrieve public money misappropriated by public office holders.

But speaking on Joy FM/MultiTV's news analysis programme Newsfile Saturday, the Auditor-General said he will only retrieve monies from those he is able to build a strong case based on the evidence against. 

"If I surcharge you and you don't agree with me and we go to court, I cannot just pull out just my report to say this is the evidence to your embezzlement. I must show documents that you signed this and that vouchers for this payment, showing the invoice number and all," he told host Samson Lardy Anyenini.

He admitted that although the report is with the AG's office and the source documents are with the Audit Service, the documents are scattered all over the country. 

Mr Domelevo said the only Audit file for each of the assignments has a lot of other information and he has to go back into the files to extract whatever evidence before going ahead to press charges.  

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