Renowned broadcaster Samson Lardy Anyenini has criticized the Attorney General, and Minister for Justice, Godfred Dame, over his advise to the Auditor General to withdraw the audit report on the government's COVID-19 expenditure it published.
The Attorney-General, in an opinion regarding the publication on the website of the Auditor Service of an audit into the Government’s Covid-19 transactions, advised the Auditor-General to pull down the report and publish it after it has been debated by Parliament and referred to an appropriate committee of Parliament in accordance with article 187(6) of the Constitution.
“The constitutional duty of the Auditor-General to submit his reports to Parliament and Parliament’s consequential obligation to debate and scrutinize same will be ‘grossly prejudiced’ by prior publication of the report,” parts of the opinion by the Minister for Justice, read.
Godfred Dame, after backlash over his opinion, came out to explain that Auditor-General is part of the Auditor Generals Department which is part of the Public Services Commission, and the constitution mandates him to offer legal advise to all agencies under the commission.
“… the letter and spirit of laws governing the work of the Auditor-General make him part of the Audit Service of Ghana and, therefore, a regular member of the public services of Ghana to whom the Attorney-General can give advice pursuant to his mandate under article 88 of the Constitution. Article 189(2) of the Constitution provides a clue when it stipulates thus “The appointment of officers and other employees in the Audit Service, other than the Auditor-General, shall be made by the Audit Service Board, acting in consultation with the Public Services Commission,” parts of a statement he issued read.
Reacting to this during his NewsFile programme on Saturday, which was monitored by GhanaWeb, Samson Lardy, who is a lawyer himself, posited that Godfred Dame's advice was unconstitutional.
He said that the Attorney General’s view that A-G's report was not complete until is looked at by Parliament is completely flawed because the House cannot change a word in audit reports prepared by the A-G.
He added that Dame's excuse that he can give legal advice to the Auditor General since he is a public servant is wrong and is tantamount to him saying he will advise the Chief Justice since the Judicial Services is also under the public service.
“Godfred Yeboah Dame, the youngest occupant in the Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice, has in the last two weeks dimed the light on his shining performance.
“… finality of the (Auditor-General’s) report is not subject to Parliament. By Article 187(7), the Auditor-General shall not be under the direction or control of any person or authority and may order recovery of monies, issue disallowances and surcharges as he dims fit. This he does in the course of his work and not after the report has been debated by MPs.
“… will you attempt to advice the Chief Justice in similar terms because the Judicial Service, like the Audit Service, is also part of the public services under Article 190,” he said.
He added that rather than needlessly challenging the A-G, the Attorney-General should focus on helping him (the A-G) retrieve all the monies that have been stolen from the state as well as prosecuting the perpetrators.
Watch Samson Lardy’s editorial below: