Senior Vice President of IMANI, Kofi Bentil

Vice-President of IMANI AFRICA, Kofi Bentil has said the Auditor-General is in contempt of court for failing to surcharge persons responsible for various audit infractions in its latest report.

Mr. Bentil noted on PM Express on Monday that the Auditor-General is aware of the various persons who committed the various audit infractions but has “deliberately refused to surcharge” such persons.

The topic for discssuin on the show was, “Disallowance and surcharge; interrogating Civil Society’s fight with the Auditor-General.”

Referring to the ruling in the case of Occupy Ghana versus the Auditor-General in 2017, Mr. Bentil explained that the Supreme Court concluded that per the Auditor-General’s finding of any money stolen by any government official, the Auditor-General shall surcharge or disallow.

He, therefore, clarified that per this ruling the Auditor-General has no discretion whether to surcharge or not.

“The Supreme Court clarified it that when you come to that endpoint where it is determined that money has been stolen or misappropriated, please recover it and it makes a lot of sense. Here you are with all the powers of your office and you find out that somebody has stolen money and then you choose to say I will do it or not choose to do it, no, you cannot have that discretion.

“So what the Supreme Court clarified for us was that the discretion by the Auditor-General does not have to do with whether he should collect or recover stolen money or not, but it has to do with the process that when he comes to the conclusion that money has been stolen, misappropriated, he should go back and get that money…indeed it is contempt of court not to do it,” he stated.

Representatives of civil society groups earlier on Monday hit the streets of Accra as they pile pressure on Auditor-General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu to exercise his powers of surcharge and disallowance.

The CSOs accuse him of blatantly refusing to use his surcharge powers since 2019, even after appeals and petitions by sections of the society for him to do so.

The recent report of the Auditor-General cites several public institutions and personalities for engaging in infractions, costing the country over GHC17b.

The Coalition is therefore mounting pressure on the Auditor-General to act to protect the public purse.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.