The Auditor General completed his audit of the Government’s accounts for the year ended 31 December 2017. He presented his report on 28 September 2018 to the Speaker of the National Assembly who laid in the Assembly on 18 October 2018. Since then, the media has been highlighting various aspects of the report.
The Public Accounts in Perspective
Article 223 of the Constitution defines the public accounts to include the accounts of: (i) all central and local government bodies and entities; (ii) all bodies and entities in which the State has a controlling interest; and (iii) all projects funded by way of loans and grants by a foreign State or organisation. Central and local government bodies include Ministries, Departments and Regions as well as the municipalities, the Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDCs), and district and village councils. On the other hand, entities in which controlling interest vests in the State include public corporations, government companies and statutory bodies, while foreign-funded projects are those of the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank, among others.
The Auditor General is in effect the external auditor of the entire public sector. Given the enormity of his mandate, there is provision for the engagement of Chartered Accountants in public practice to audit on his behalf and under his supervision, any of the accounts referred to above. It has been the practice for the audits of public enterprises to be contracted out to Chartered Accountants because of their greater expertise in commercial-type audits. ….