Retrieve ‘looted’ state cash – Supreme Court orders Auditor General

The Supreme Court has ordered the Auditor General to, with immediate effect, begin surcharging persons found to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state.

The seven-member panel of justices, presided over by incoming Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, did not give reasons for their judgment but indicated that they will make available the full details of the decision in a few hours.

The order of the court follows a suit filed by pressure group, Occupy Ghana in June 2016, seeking an order directing the Auditor-General to issue disallowances and surcharges to and in respect of all persons and entities found in relevant, successive reports to have engaged in misappropriation of state funds.

Occupy Ghana had explained that it sued the Auditor General for refusing to surcharge persons who are said to have misappropriated monies belonging to the state to the tune of over GHc40 billion.

Occupy Ghana in 2014 wrote a letter to the Auditor General reminding it to surcharge such persons or face them in court.

A statement issued by the pressure group said, it filed a case against the two Generals at the Supreme Court on Wednesday [June 22, 2016], because several efforts to ensure that the Auditor General makes such surcharges have proved futile.

The group in the statement said, in November 2014, it wrote a letter, “reminding him [ Auditor-General] of his powers of Disallowance and Surcharge under the Constitution, demanding that he exercises them…Subsequently we engaged several times with the Auditor-General, with a view to assisting in putting in place the structures upon which he would exercise those powers.”

“Regrettably, after a dozen letters and exchanges, and one publicized meeting on 27th March 2015, the Auditor-General has not taken any steps to exercise those powers, which would lead to the recovery of huge sums of money for the State,” the statement added.

Occupy Ghana had prayed the Supreme Court to declare  “that the Auditor-General’s omission, failure, refusal or neglect to issue any Disallowances and Surcharges in respect of the above, and as appears in his successive Reports since the coming into force of the Constitution, violates the Constitution.”

By: Fred Djabanor/citifmonline.com/Ghana