‘Help reduce accounting scandals usually recorded in A-G’s Report’

The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah has called on members of the Ghana Health Service Internal Audit Committees to be proactive and vigilant in their operations to help reduce the number of accounting scandals usually recorded in the Auditor’s Annual Report.

He said if the committees did their work effectively and efficiently, it would go a long way to reducing corruption and other malfeasance in the health sector.

Mr Darko -Mensah made the call during the second joint – inauguration of the Western and Western North Regional Internal Audit Committees for health sector institutions under the Health Service, on the theme: “Promoting Public Sector Accountability the Role of Audit Committees.”

He noted that audit committees played an important role in fighting corruption, promoting transparency and accountability and good governance in organizations.

The Minister said Internal audit committees could also provide independent oversight information, financial reporting on internal controls and compliance with legal regulatory requirements by conducting regular processes.

He said internal audit committees could help identify potential weaknesses, inconsistencies that could indicate fraudulent or corrupt practices.

Mr Darko – Mensah tasked the committees   to conduct regular risk assessments and give the needed recommendations to ensure accountability and transparency.

Mr Benjamin Adjetey Sowah, Director, Technical, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Agency, (IAA) said the Agency was working with Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) to improve  accountability and control systems in the health sector to improve access by the vulnerable in society.

He urged public sector institutions to ensure the participation of Audit Committee members in the entrance and exit meetings of external auditors.

MrSowah tasked them to ensure the early submission of the monthly reports on the deduction and payment of withholding taxes to Ghana Revenue Authority.

He cautioned against the recruitment, posting, promotion and reassignment or dismissal of heads of internal audit units without recourse to the Internal Audit Agency and the Audit committee.

Mr Sowah announced virtual training for heads of internal audit units nationwide on the effective use of IAA website and ICT tools on Wednesday May 10,2023.

He said the ongoing payroll monitoring by Fair Wages and salaries commission did not replace the submission of the monthly electronic salary payroll validation (ESPV) internal Audit report to the IAA as directed by the Ministry of Finance and office of the President.

Nana Yaw Ofori Yeboah Western Regional Director of Health Services , in a welcoming address, said the role of Audit committee in corporate governance cannot be underestimated as they were expected to discharge their mandatory, advisory and support service roles in accordance with relevant requirements of the public financial Management Act, 2016 (Act 921), Public  financial management regulations 2019 (LI2378) and the audit committee guidance( 2017) .

He said as a region they had taken cognizance of relevant audit directives emanating from the Internal Audit Agency, such as the invitation of Audit committee chairpersons to participate in both entrance and exit meetings, Development of enterprise risk management systems, publication of default list of covered entities, set audit review panel as well as putting in place mechanism to achieve compliance.

Nana Yeboah indicated that there had been steady improvement in the audit indicators as revealed in their recent holistic performance assessment exercise, for instance, “internal audit coverage had increased from 36.43 percent recorded in 2021 to 50 percent in 2022 with a national target of 75 percent.”

The Regional Director pointed out that with a total audit performance recorded last year as 51 percent with a national target of 80 percent, called for the effectiveness of internal audit committees for the realization of better audit outcomes in the region and service as a whole.

He said to make internal audit committees effective amid the reconfiguration of Audit zones they were in the process of developing internal guidelines that would set modalities for the funding of committees for equity and inclusive purposes.

The Regional Health Director prayed that the committees would discharge their roles professionally as spelt out under section 88 of Act 921 and audit committee guidelines (2017).




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