Daily Guide Reported ‘False’ News – Audit Service
The Audit Service has rubbished a Daily Guide newspaper publication purporting that its Auditor General has spent some GHS7.6million to purchase cars for the institution. It said it followed due procedure in procuring the 32 vehicles.
Daily Guide newspaper in a republication on Tuesday, September 5, 2018, reported that the Audit Service had procured 27 vehicles worth GH¢7.6 million without going through the right tender processes. The report said the vehicles, which comprises five Toyota Land Cruiser Prado, one Toyota Land Cruiser V8 and 21 Toyota IMV Hilux Deluxe were purchased from the Audit Service’s 2017 budgetary allocation, as well as funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
“Although the procurement of the vehicles went through the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the expenditure was well above the threshold of the Auditor-General, as well as the Entity Tender Committee of the Audit Service,” the report said.
But the audit service has described the report as inaccurate.
However, in a press release Wednesday, the service debunked the claims in the story, describing them as “false”.
It also noted that although the cost of the vehicles was above the approved limit, the Central Tender Review Board had given it a concurrent approval as required to exceed the initial limit.
“It was also alleged that we bought 27 vehicles at the cost GH¢ 7.6 million. This again is untrue. We bought 32 vehicles at 6.870,511.65; it was alleged that the procurement was made from the “Audit Service 2017 budgetary allocation. This is false – the procurement was made from the 2018 budgetary allocation,” the Audit Service said.
The Service further assured the public of its dedication to protecting the public purse and will abide by all laws in executing its mandate.
“We would like to assure the public that the vehicles were genuinely procured and are being used to carry out several audits across the country. The Audit Service wishes to reassure the public that protecting the public purse is our core mandate. We will continue to honour this call and to be law abiding.”
Below are details of the statement
Our attention has been drawn to a publication in the Daily Guide newspaper of Tuesday September 4, 2018 (Issue 207/18) with the above headline. The story seeks to paint a picture of wrong doing on the part of the Auditor-General in procuring vehicles for the operations of the Audit Service. We wish to correct some of the inaccuracies in the publication as follows:
1. The “ace journalist” alleged that the vehicles were procured “without going through the right procurement processes” but failed to tell us the processes (may be tendering procedures) that we should have used instead of the national competitive tendering -that we think is the most appropriate and which we used;
2. The publication alleges that the cost of the vehicles was above the approval limit for the Auditor General and the entity tender committee of the Audit Service. This is true but if the “ace newspaper” and its source had checked from the Central Tender Review Board (CTRB), they would have been told that Audit Service obtained concurrent approval from the CTRB as required by the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) and the Public Procurement Act, 2016 (Act 914 as amended);
3. It was also alleged that we bought 27 vehicles at the cost of GH47.6million. This again is untrue. We bought 32 vehicles at the cost of GH46,870,511.65;
4. It was alleged that the procurement was made from “Audit Service 2017 budgetary allocation. This is false -the procurement was made from the 2018 budgetary allocation;
5. It was alleged that the Board did not know about the Procurement. – The Audit Service financed the purchase of 28 of the vehicles from the 2018 budget estimates, which the ASB approved. After the ASB had approved the Audit Service’s budget or estimates for 2018, the Board Chair, Prof. Edward Dua Agyeman wrote on 31st October, 2017, to the President submitting the estimates for the year 2018 which was later laid before Parliament in accordance with Section 27 of the Audit Service Act 2000 (Act 584).
On page 50 of the document, is a request for the amount of GH441,261,688.00 to be approved for Capital Expenditure. The break down provided by the Board includes the “…purchase of cross country vehicles (pick-ups) and six 4×4 vehicles will be purchased for the Auditor-General and his Deputies all at a proposed cost of GHC6,300,000.00(emphasis)
6. We encourage the Journalist, Daily Guide, and or their source to tell us the laws we violated or what was done contrary to the provisions of Public Procurement Act 2016 (as amended) and the Public Financial Management Act 2016 but, they should keep their opinions to themselves.
7. The paper alleged that the Auditor-General is running “one man show”. This is false. For the records, 2018 was the first time the governing board (ASB) was not only involved in interviewing staff but the panel was made of only board members (plus a representative from the public services commission) for promotion to management level as well as being present at a press representative from the public services commission) for promotion to management level as well as being present at a press conference the Service organised when we issued our audit report on the liabilities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies 2016.
We believe that facts are sacred and that is why we have provided these facts. Audit is a trekking business and we will like to assure the public that the vehicles were genuinely procured and are being used to carry out several audits across the country. The Audit Service wishes to re-assure the public that protecting the public purse is our core mandate. We will continue to honour this call and to be law abiding.
In conclusion, it is hoped that the “ace journalist” Mr. Gribril Abdul Razak and the Daily Guide will read Article 187(7)(a) of the Constitution and Sections 11, 13, 16, and 18 of the Audit Service Act 2000 in order to appreciate the fact that in the performance of “his functions under the constitution or any other law the Auditor-General shall not be subject to the direction or control of any other person or authority” (emphasis).