According to Mrs Juliet Aboagye-Wiafe, President of the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) Ghana, the work of internal auditors facilitate good corporate governance and compliance. These in turn ‘provide strong inputs for organisational or business sustainability and prevent corporate scandals, fraud and failures.’
Mrs Aboagye-Wiafe reportedly said this at the IIA’s 2019 Annual National Internal Audit and Governance Conference.
In June 2019, Auditor-General Mr. Daniel Yao Domelevo also stated that it is better to prevent corruption. Therefore, making internal auditors independent is one of the control mechanisms that government can put in place to prevent corruption. He even suggested to the Presidency to consider the inclusion of the Director General of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) in Government’s Economic Management Team to help control expenditure within certain strategic sectors. He took the view that internal auditors would provide timely information on lapses within the Public Financial Management system to enable the E. M. T. take judicious measures to address identified inefficiencies.
In spite of these authorities speaking favourably on internal auditors, Corruption Watch has come across cases from its investigations in which some internal auditors have allegedly been professionally abused and harassed for refusing to be compromised.
The EPA case
You may recall that in late 2018, Corruption Watch broke the story of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of Ghana sinking at least GHC1.5 million Ghana cedis into questionable contracts.
We reported that the Agency lost GHC64,066 after the price of a box (containing 12 bottles) of Beta Malt was hiked from GHC50 to GHC150.
In came to light that Mr Charles Amevor, a trained auditor who was a Deputy Executive Director was allegedly hit on by colleagues in management for taking the pains to pre-audit transactions before their finalisation for efficiency.
He was eventually removed from his position as Deputy Executive Director, Finance and Administration and seconded to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
The Zongo Dev’t Fund alleged Ghc5m procurement breach
A more recent case involves Usuman Abdul Razak, a former Internal Auditor at the Zongo Development Fund, which is popularly known as ZoDF.
You may recall that a Corruption Watch investigation uncovered that the Zongo Development Fund (ZoDF) had engaged in alleged procurement malpractices in the purchase of goods, services and works worth GHC5.0 million. The management of ZoDF allegedly superintended procurement breaches such as inflation of contract figures and breaching of entity head’s threshold.
Corruption Watch established that two hundred thousand Ghana cedis (GHC200,000) of the GHC5.0 million was spent on a contract for COVID-19 PPEs.
What Corruption Watch did not report at the time was the alleged ill treatment of Usuman Abdul Razak, who was the Internal Auditor. Some persons at ZoDF allegedly hatched a plan to kick him out for his supposed uncompromising position. A staff member allegedly drove into his parked car at the office premises and damaged his bumper; his contact was leaked to clients who allegedly sent him text messages to threaten him for supposedly blocking their payments, etc.
Then, after the publication of Corruption Watch’s report, a certain ‘Alliance for Zongo Progress’ accused him of stealing laptops from ZoDF and also selling documents to Corruption Watch.
Corruption Watch Journalist Frederick Asiamah sat with Dr. Eric Oduro Osae, Director-General of the Internal Audit Agency. Their conversation, in the audio below, touched on the strong measures the Agency wants to take to protect the work of internal auditors, a caution to MDAs against unjustified transfer of internal auditors and the audit situation at the Zongo Development Fund.
To conclude, here are a few updates on some of the points that came in after the conversation between Frederick Asiamah and Dr. Eric Oduro Osae:
On the issue of the rejected internal audit report for the period October 2018 to November 2019, Dr Oduro Osae gave update yesterday that the Zongo Development Fund had resubmitted the report together with a status of implementation report in the manner and form prescribed by guidelines and standards of the Agency.
The report was dated 22nd September 2020 but received by the Agency on 25th September 2020.
The Agency as per its practice has sent a team to follow up and verify the status of implementation of recommendations in the report.
On the issue of allegations made against the internal auditor, Dr Oduro Osae said the investigation into the allegations made against the internal auditor seconded to the ZoDF is ongoing. The investigative team is still in the evidence gathering process before concluding the assignment and submitting the report.