Failure To Adhere To Audit Costs Nation Huge Losses

The Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Mr Kwabena Obese-Jecty, has attributed the loss of huge sums of state resources through mismanagement and corruption to failure of managers of state institutions to adhere to internal audit queries and recommendations. He explained that issues relating to the wrong payment of judgement debts, misappropriation of state resources, corruption that caused the country a huge fortune as reported by the Auditor General, could have been averted if leadership of state institutions took internal audit seriously. He said this when he met the management of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL) as part of a familiarisation tour of the company and also to seek support for publicising the IAA’s activities. The Auditor General’s report on the Public Accounts of Ghana’s MDAs summarises the total financial irregularities for 2010 as GH¢173,174,541, while that of 2011 was a whopping GH¢119,488,756.04. The summaries for 2012 were: tax irregularities, GH¢72,414, 244; cash irregularities, GH¢94,545,872; contracts, GH¢283,578; outstanding loans, GH¢4,665,375; payroll irregularities, GH¢498,259; Stores/Procurement irregularities, GH¢684,375, and rent arrears, GH¢82,838. In its 2011 report, the Auditor General compared the actual expenditure of seven sampled MDAs with the expenditure schedule of the Public Accounts and numerous inconsistencies culminated in an understatement of GH¢434,940,462 in the Public Accounts. Established in 2005, the IAA has as its main objective to facilitate the set-up and functioning of internal audit units (IAUs) in all MDAs and MMDAs, set standards and procedures for the conduct of internal audit work in MDAs and MMDAs, co-ordinate and facilitate internal audit activities in MDAs and MMDAs, monitor, undertake inspections and evaluate the internal auditing of MDAs and MMDAs and provide quality assurance of internal audit work in MDAs and MMDAs. Mr Kwabena Obese-Jecty described as erroneous the impression that internal auditors were like hunters, rather saying that they were officials who nipped in the bud activities that might affect the finances of organisations. He said in most state organisations and institutions, when internal auditors raised questions about issues, they were swept under the carpet, and such issues later cropped up when external auditors captured them in their report. He explained that if management of organisations reacted positively and timely to queries raised by internal auditors, there would be no need for such organisations to be engulfed in huge financial irregularities in the Auditor General’s Report. The Managing Director of the Graphic Communications Group Limited (GCGL), Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, was unhappy about the manner leadership, including ordinary Ghanaians, had handled the management of this country, a situation which had resulted in the poor state of affairs in the face of abundant natural and human resources. He said it was high time Ghanaians treated the management of state resources with the same attention as private companies managed their entities, explaining that he was not in full support of the cliché that the state must not be in business. He explained that private businesses could not operate in all spheres of the economy and that certain areas that the state was involved had to be managed with all the seriousness it deserved and was of the strong opinion that progressive result would be attained. Mr Ashigbey mentioned Botswana, where the entire nation was using Balance Scorecard to measure the output of the entire nation and noted that with proper checks, such as strict adherence to internal auditing, Ghana with its plenty human and natural resources would cut down waste and use the resources to assist with the development process.