The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has revealed that the Public Procurement Authority, “simply reviewing contracts brought before it for approval under either sole sourcing or restrictive tendering, has, in the past 18 months, saved the country some GH¢1.6 billion.”
Speaking at the 2018 Internal Audit Conference, on Wednesday, 1st August, 2018, on the theme, “Leadership and Good Corporate Governance; A key to Effective Public Financial Management”, President Akufo-Addo indicated that, in the whole of 2016, “the Authority made zero savings.”
This, the President said, “is what can happen when our institutions work”, adding that “I know that there is no better way to retain the confidence of the people than to ensure that public institutions work.”
As internal auditors, he noted that they constitute the first line of defense in the fight against corruption, explaining that if they did their work well, they provide an independent and objective assessment of an institution’s operations; specifically, the effectiveness of its internal control structure.
“When people know that they cannot get away with spending 10 cedis of public money without accounting for it, they hesitate to take 100 or 1,000 or 10,000 cedis,” the President stressed.
However, with the Auditor-General, year-in-year-out, uncovering cases of financial malfeasance in the public service, the President stated that “we cannot avoid the conclusion that the internal auditor must be either complicit or incompetent. We cannot afford to have internal auditors that would be complicit in the malfeasance they are expected to prevent, and, certainly, we do not need incompetent ones.”
He continued, “From what is euphemistically termed petty corruption, to what must be called grand corruption, the truth is that corruption thrives when no one is checking.”
President Akufo-Addo, thus, emphasised that the internal auditor is one of the primary weapons in the fight against corruption.
“I came to reiterate that I need your help in the fight against corruption. I came to renew publicly the sacred vow that I took to protect the public purse. I came also to acknowledge that this is not a battle I can wage or win alone. There are many layers to the protection of the public purse, and internal auditors are its primary defenders,” he said.
Whilst acknowledging the fundamental role that internal auditors play to prevent, detect and reduce corruption, leakages, and waste of public resources, he added that internal auditors help to ensure accurate and timely information, which helps to improve financial management systems in organizations.
“Internal auditors lead in the safeguarding of resources and help to strengthen the control system, compliance with laws, policies and procedures in organizations… Even more important is their role in ensuring accountability, transparency and the quality of performance in the organization,” he said.
Attempts to tarnish me with corruption won’t wash
The President stated that, despite “stringent and desperate efforts being made by my political opponents to tarnish me and members of my family with corruption will simply not wash.”
President Akufo-Addo reaffirmed that “I did not come into public life to make money out of public service, and members of my family know fully well that they have to behave, and are not involved in anything untoward. I am aware that you give a dog a bad name in order to hang it. But, this dog will not be hanged.”
He, thus, assured that institutions, such as the Auditor-General, Internal Audit Agency, EOCO and other statutory institutions, will continue to be empowered to carry out their mandate so that relevant laws and policies are complied with.
President Akufo-Addo, in concluding, assured Ghanaians that “Government is on the right path to secure what is good for the country, and will endeavour, with God’s Grace, to work hard to reach our goal. Let us all work hard, and we shall achieve the prosperous and happy Ghana we all envisage.”