Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu, says the reluctance of the Auditor-General to exercise his power of surcharging and disallowance is due to the fact that those accused of the largest infractions are politically connected.

His comment comes on the back of the Auditor General, Johnson Akuamoah Asiedu, refusing to use his surcharging powers since 2019 to retrieve misappropriated state funds, despite petitions from civil society organisations for him to do so.

In the Audit Service’s latest report, it was disclosed that the country suffered financial irregularities to the tune of ¢17 billion.

In an effort to get the Auditor General to exercise his constitutionally mandated powers, CSOs and anti-graft campaigners hit the street on Monday to register their displeasure.

According to Martin Kpebu, while the actions of the CSOs may be misconstrued as them putting undue pressure on the Auditor General, he explained that the pressure is to incentivize the Auditor General to take a bold step and surcharge the cabal that has him in shackles.

“Yes, because the people who have to pay back a lot of the money, a lot of them are politically connected. So let’s take the OMCs – among the cash irregularities about 490 million of it is owed by 14 OMCs. That’s the highest component of the irregularities out of the one billion.

“You look and it’s not farfetched, you’ll see that they’re political friends. And political friends would have to sort themselves out. So the reluctance is not coincidence,” he said.

He said, should the money be followed, “you’ll see behind all of these things, you’ll see a cabal, you’ll see cronyism, and all that. Family and friends, all of it, that’s the extension of the family and friends’ regime we have playing out in the Auditor General’s report, looming very large in our governance architecture. That’s a shame.”

Meanwhile, the Vice President of IMANI Africa, Kofi Bentil, says should their appeals and petitions fail to get the Auditor General to do the work he is being paid to do, they will demand for his immediate resignation and prosecution.