OccupyGhana has expressed concern about comments made by the Minister-Designate for National Security, Albert Kan Dapaah, during his vetting by Parliament.
Mr. Kan Dapaah claimed is that the independence of the Auditor-General is “not personal” to the Auditor-General but belongs to the Audit Service.
Second, he claimed that the Auditor-General’s reports must be approved by Parliament before the Auditor-General could issue disallowances and surcharges.
But, Mr Kan Dapaah could not cite any legal or constitutional bases for these shocking views.
OccupyGhana said there are none, adding that this he sought solace in a false claim that the Auditor-General is an officer of Parliament, and that this is what persists under some ‘Westminster system,’ which if true, still does not apply under our constitutional system.
“We vehemently disagree with Mr Kan Dapaah’s claims. They have no basis in the law or our Constitution and appear to feed into an attempt by some political actors, clearly uncomfortable with the constitutional position and role of the Auditor-General especially in the light of the magisterial decision of the Supreme Court in OccupyGhana v Attorney-General, are seeking to whittle down that independence and powers that the court upheld in that decision,” the group said in a statement.
Mr Kan Dapaah, they said, should know that the alleged “Westminster system” might be taught to and cherished by accountants, but has no legal application in Ghana.
“The Minister-designate knows, or should know that the Constitution has made no provision that applies the so-called “Westminster system” to Ghana.
“On the contrary, our Constitution is explicit that the Auditor-General, in the performance of his functions under both the Constitution and the law, “shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority.” Parliament is one such authority,” he said.
They said the Auditor-General is definitely independent of Parliament and any attempt to subject the Auditor-General to the control of Parliament or any other person or authority, is not just wrong, but plainly unconstitutional.
Mr Kan Dapaah is wrong in his claim that this independence is “not personal” to the Auditor-General, but belongs to the Audit Service.
The simplest reading of article 187 (7) shows that the Constitution gives this independence to the office of the Auditor-General and not the Audit Service, which is created by article 188 and is given no such independence.
While it is arguable that the Auditor-General’s independence should extend to the Audit Service, and we think that this was implied by the Supreme Court in Brown v Attorney-General, any claim that the Auditor-General qua Auditor-General has no such independence is plainly wrong and ought not be countenanced.
The group said Mr Kan Dapaah is wrong when he claims that the Auditor-General’s reports must be approved by Parliament before he can issue disallowances and surcharges.
They added “and as for his illustration about a father’s permission being required before the conduct of his erring son is impugned by an auditor, the least said about it the better.
“It is not a coincidence that the framers of the Constitution placed the Auditor-General’s independence and powers of disallowance and surcharge in the same paragraph of the Constitution, as if the two are to move in tandem.”