The World Bank has thrown out an audit report sent it by the Akufo-Addo-led government and has ordered it to use the Ghana Audit Service (GAS) to conduct “an in-depth Review” of all procurement related expenditures from the period spanning the life of the administration from January 2017 to June 30, 2019.
The rejected report, had come from a private audit firm and the Bank in throwing it out explained that “it is obvious that there are still systemic challenges with procurement and contracts” which needs to be cured to correct various “lapses and control issues”.
The government has a December 2019 deadline to conduct an in-depth review assignment and submit its finding to the Bank.
“In line with the use of country systems, the Bank further recommends that that assignment be undertaking by the Ghana Audit Service and the finding shared with the Bank before December 15th 2019”.
By this directive, the Bank, has clearly rejected government use of private audit firms to conduct government audit and insists that, the government uses the Ghana Audit Service for credible reports going forward.
The global Bank said this, in a reply to the government’s 2018 Annual Audit Report and Management Letter submitted to the Bank on June 27, 2019.
The Bank’s reply to the government was authored by Task Team Leader, Donald Mphande and copied to Patrick Nomo; Chief Director Ministry of Finance, George Swanzy Winful; Deputy Auditor General, Ghana Audit Service; Kwasi Kwaning-Bosompem Ag. Controller and Accountant General.
It acknowledged the letter was submitted within the six months’ period after the end of the fiscal year, in compliance with the provision of the Financing Agreement, but expressed concern about how in previous years, it consistent recommendation to government to take a critical review of the capacity to manage procurement to avoid any issues of misprocurment or lack of value in contracts, was not heeded to.
Delving into the work of the Auditor, the Bank, said findings by the private Auditor, showed that various contracts amounting to several thousands of US dollars, did not go through the full hall so far as procurement laws were concerned.
The Bank also revealed that, even though the government’s letter revealed that some amounts of money were paid for contracts, the same auditor noted that there was no documentary evidence or record to show that the said contract was executed.
The Bank, referring to paragraph 18 of the government letter said the “The auditor lists a total of US$378, 100 various contracts for which the auditor states that their reviews showed that the contracts awarded did not follow through the entire procurement processes.
Again, and with reference to the management letter (paragraph 36) in which the auditor stated that even though payments of US$334, 184.40, had been made for a contract, there was no documentary evidence by way of project deliverables to indicate that the contract had been executed”.
The Bank said, based on the available information per the audit reports, it agreed with the “Unqualified opinions expressed by the Auditors and considers the audit report as acceptable and satisfactory.
However, given the instances of apparent lapses in procurement and contract management, as per the audit report and following our procurement reviews during missions, the Bank is requesting that an in-depth Fiduciary Review of all procurement related expenditures be conducted for the period from January 2017 through to June 30th, 2019”.
It added that “In line with the use of country systems, the Bank further recommends that that assignment be undertaking by the Ghana Audit Service and the finding shared with the Bank before December 15th 2019”.