Daniel Yao Domelevo, the Auditor General Thursday said internal auditors need autonomy to help end corruption in the country.
He said internal auditors were the custodians of accountability, yet were weakened by “employer dominance and political interference”, and must be granted full independence to deliver the mandate of the Audit Service.
Mr Domelevo said this when he opened the 3rd Bi-Annual Conference of Regional Auditors in Ho, on the theme: “In the Era of Disallowance and Surcharge, the Role of the Regional Auditors.
“We need to take a second look at internal audit. They can be likened to the eyes and ears of management. They are with the institution, and they can save the country from a lot of losses that we have been incurring over the years. But they are weak. They don’t have the independence to do their work,” he said.
The Auditor General said the burden of the audit lay on the shoulders of the internal audit unit, and they must show strength in the face of work related challenges, and must not be coaxed or threatened into producing shoddy work.
“Let’s not take the risk associated with our office as an excuse of non-performance. Yes there is risk, but it is part of the occupational hazard and we must accept and drive on for God and for Country, and not for our personal interest,” he said.
Mr Domelevo said the concept of protecting the public purse hinged on Government’s fiscal responsibility, the strategic allocation of resources, efficient service delivery, and the elimination of corruption, adding, and the latter was a “major threat that must be fought”.
“My colleague auditors, let’s not be afraid in fighting corruption. When you fight corruption, it would fight you back. When they praise you too much it means you are a bad auditor,” he said.
Mr Domelevo asked the public to collaborate more with the Service, adding that it was not formed to witch-hunt individuals and organisations, and noted that its delivery included; pre and post audit engagements in addition to a 30-day window for redress before reports were validated and made public.
The Auditor General said his outfit would consider engaging the media more to grant the public more eyes into the audit process, and erode negative perceptions.
Mr Raphael K. Darku, Volta Regional Auditor, said institutions were repeating same infractions year after year with no significant improvement, and hoped that audit committees at the various Assemblies would work effectively to minimise the violations.
Rev Johnson Avuletey, Deputy Volta Regional Minister, praised the Auditor General’s office for its exceptional service to the country, saying in an era of limited State resources, the Service had proven itself committed to playing its watchdog role.
Professor John Owusu Gyapong, Vice Chancellor of the University of Health and Allied Sciences (UHAS) who chaired the event, said an effective internal audit unit would help stop 90 per cent of resource management challenges, and asked that the units be resourced.
He also called for policies that would guide their operations and make sure they went full length in satisfying audit requirements.
The two-day conference would offer Regional Auditors an engagement with stakeholders, and strategize towards making the Service more effective and efficient.