The Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has raised objections over the premature publication of the report of the special audit on the Government’s COVID-19 transactions by the Auditor-General. He has called for the report to be unpublished, pending the completion of the constitutional processes that lead to its final publication, which includes its submission to Parliament.
The Attorney-General argues that the publication of the report ahead of its review by Parliament or a parliamentary committee is unconstitutional. In a letter addressed to the Auditor-General, Mr. Johnson Akuamoah-Asiedu, the Attorney-General referred to previous discussions on the implementation of the Auditor-General’s reports and the issuance of disallowances and surcharges. He pointed out the controversy generated by the publication of the COVID-19 audit report and the need for it to go through the proper constitutional channels before being considered final.
According to the Attorney-General, the Constitution requires the Auditor-General to submit his report to Parliament, which then debates it and may appoint a committee to address any issues arising from it. He argues that the premature publication of the report undermines the purpose of these constitutional provisions and that the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament provides an opportunity for those affected by the report to respond to the findings of the Auditor-General.
While the Audit Service Act mandates the publication of the reports as soon as they have been presented to the Speaker to be laid before Parliament, the Attorney-General argues that the laws governing the functions of the Auditor-General should be interpreted as a whole. He believes that the constitutional duties of the Auditor-General and Parliament would be prejudiced by a prior publication of the report.
The Attorney-General has advised the withdrawal of the report on the Government COVID-19 transactions from the website of the Audit Service before it has been debated by Parliament and considered by the appropriate committee