Internal Auditors advised to act professionally, be politically neutral

Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Director-General, Internal Audit Agency (IAA) has urged internal auditors to act as professionals and be politically neutral in the line of duty.

He said internal auditors were expected to be technically competent to provide advice to any government under the remit of the Public Financial Management (PFM) Act.

“We are not supposed to do politics, once you introduce politics into your internal audit function, you cease to be an internal auditor,” the Director-General added.

He made these remarks during the 2023 nationwide training for audit committees across the country. The training is to expose audit committees to contemporary issues in internal audit practice and position them to adequately support sub-national governments in their PFM systems.

The capacity building also sought to raise awareness among audit committee members on the role of supporting sub-national governments to reduce the annual irregularities reported by the auditor general.

The Director-General said internal auditors were supposed to provide advisory and assurance services to various public institutions, but in most cases, some of these internal auditors worked like external auditors, informing them about where the loopholes in the institutions were.

He advised them to desist from such acts and to work to minimise the irregularities uncovered by external auditors.

“I want to see irregularities reported by the auditor general in the 2022 Auditor General’s report yet to be released, reduced and when that happens, then internal auditors and audit committees will be seen to be working in this country,” he stressed.

Dr Osae added that there were some sanction regimes that could be applied to any internal auditor who played policing roles, according to the IAA 2003 Act 658, and in worst-case scenarios, they could be jailed

He said the PFM guidelines have been reviewed and enhanced by the Finance Ministry to give audit committees and internal auditors more powers and make them more effective in supporting management to deliver on their mandate.

Mr Ishmael Mensah, Director of Internal Audit, Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council (GARCC) said the PFM Act clearly outlined the establishment, Constitutions and roles of audit committees within respective government entities.

He said, in addition, regulations 223 to 229 on the PFM Act Li 2378, equally expounded on the invaluable roles of the audit committees, all of which could largely be summed up as providing quality assurance to government entities, ensuring that laws and policies were strictly adhered to.

Mr Mensah added that the roles of the audit committees could be achieved when members of the committee were well capacitated to enable them to deliver at their optimal levels.

“I would, therefore, urge all present to grab the shared knowledge and best practices this training seeks to offer,” he stressed.

Mr Mensah said the GARCC was grateful to the GIZ for the immense technical and financial support that had been of immense help over the years.

Mr Dauda Hambali, Representative of GIZ, said they had been working with the IAA since 2019, to strengthen accountability mechanisms to improve PFM outcomes.

He said they were also excited to hear that the Finance Ministry had signed the audit committee guidelines and that the agency would be rolling them out for sensitisation soon.



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