Auditor-General recovers unearned salaries – GH¢11.52m so far retrieved as disallowance

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) holds a special account belonging to the Auditor-General, which is used to receive disallowed unearned salaries and allowances. As of the end of last month, the account has accumulated more than GH¢11.52 million. Out of this amount, GH¢10 million has been transferred to the Consolidated Fund. The account, known as the ‘Auditor-General’s Recoveries Account,’ was established in June of the previous year to track the progress of recoveries made through expenditure disallowances and safeguard the public purse.

Before the establishment of this specialized account, the Auditor-General’s recommendations for recoveries of unearned salaries were directed to the Controller and Accountant-General’s Suspense Account (CAGSA). However, the CAGSA lacked real-time information on recoveries, making it difficult to effectively enforce rules on surcharging and disallowances.

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According to the Auditor-General, every year, the reports to Parliament highlight infractions in the use of public funds. Article 187(7)(b) of the 1992 Constitution empowers the Auditor-General to disallow any expenditure contrary to the law and surcharge the responsible individuals for such expenses.

In this context, disallowances refer to the Auditor-General’s recommendations for recovering funds from individuals, public officers, or institutions that committed infractions. On the other hand, surcharges may lead to legal action and typically undergo thorough forensic examination before a notice of intention to surcharge is issued. The affected person then has the opportunity to respond, and if the response is unsatisfactory, a surcharge certificate is issued, leading to possible prosecution by the Attorney-General.

To enhance recoveries, the Auditor-General’s office is committed to training staff in gathering audit evidence that will be admissible in court. Other avenues are also used to retrieve disallowed expenditure, including unearned salaries and allowances, and recommendations are made to audited entities and the Ghana Revenue Authority as per the various Auditor-General’s reports.

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Recently, the Auditor-General’s office provided 15 audit reports for the 2022 financial year to Parliament, complying with constitutional requirements. The timely release of funds from the government and the Ministry of Finance has been appreciated for enabling the office to fulfill its mandate.

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