The Auditor-General’s Department has recovered for the state more than ¢67 million from various surcharge certificates issued to individuals and organisations.
In a statement issued by the Acting Public Relations Officer of the Audit Service, Benard Conduah, the Service revealed that between June 14, 2017, to November 30, 2018, it “issued 112 Surcharge Certificates to individuals and organisations and recovered a total amount of ¢67,315,066.12 into government chest.”
The statement added that stakeholders and the general public can access copies of a report it has submitted to the Parliament on the progress made by the Ghana Audit Service on Disallowance and Surcharge from the website of the Ghana Audit Service.
The Supreme Court in June 2017 ordered the Auditor-General to surcharge anyone that it founds to have misappropriated public funds.
Per the court judgment, the Auditor-General must act on its annual report and take steps to retrieve any public fund found to have been misappropriated.
The judgment was in relation to a case filed by the pressure group, OccupyGhana following a campaign it had initiated against the attitude of the Auditor-General whom it accused of not applying the law and protecting the public purse.
Occupy Ghana sued the Attorney General and the Auditor-General for refusing to surcharge persons who are said to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state to the tune of over GH¢40 billion.
According to the pressure group, every year, the Auditor-General finds many instances of misapplication of state funds by public officers, yet nobody is held accountable or punished, even though the Auditor-General has the power to disallow expenditures which were not in conformity with the law and to surcharge those responsible.
The group after engaging the Auditor-General and realising the Auditor-General didn’t appear willing or capable of doing this, therefore took the matter to the Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court then granted all the reliefs that OccupyGhana sought with respect of the Auditor-General’s powers of disallowance and surcharge.
The Court asked the Auditor-General to take steps to recover all amounts lost to the state including those that had gone to private persons.
In addition, the Attorney-General was to ensure enforcement of the orders including criminal prosecution where necessary.
These orders, according to the Supreme Court, was done notwithstanding the goodwill shown by the present Auditor-General, Mr Daniel Yao Domelevo.
The Auditor-General has since submitted its Special Report on the Disallowance and Surcharge as of December 30, 2018, to Parliament.
The report, which is in fulfillment of the provision of Article 187 of the 1992 Constitution was submitted to Parliament on December 31.
The report seeks to draw the attention of Parliament and the citizenry to progress made by the Ghana Audit Service on Disallowance and Surcharge after the landmark decision of the Supreme Court on June 14, 2017 [OccupyGhana vs. Attorney General].