"Indeed the 2010 and 2011 reports have been submitted, and we are commenting on them in the 2012 Auditor-General's report, which will be in Parliament very soon. But then, we are talking about submission of reports in three months after the end of the ensuing year. And so, if you have submitted them now, it's way beyond the statutory mandated date. And I don't think it is anything they should be proud of."
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has expressed worry about the late submission of financial reports by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to the Auditor-General for auditing.
According to the twenty-five member PAC, such attitude delayed the auditing process, and also puts more stress on the Auditor-General and his team to meet their time bound.
MDAs, per the dictates of the laws of the land, have up to March 31 of the ensuing year to submit their draft financial statement to the Auditor-General for assessment.
The Auditor-General, on the other hand, is under obligation to report its assessment to Parliament by June 30 of same year. The concern of the PAC was provoked by the Ghana National Petroleum Cooperation's (GNPC) delays in submitting its financial report for the year 2010 and 2011 to the Auditor-General for analysis.
Submission of the cooperation's 2012 financial report, according to the Auditor-General, had also been delayed. This came to the fore yesterday, when the GNPC appeared before the PAC to answer to queries raised by the Auditor-General in the corporation's statement of accounts for the year 2011.
Director of Finance, GNPC, Mrs. Comfort Aniagyei, in a response to the concern raised by the PAC, said there were no issues about the 2010 and 2011 financial statements of the corporation since her outfit had submitted them.
But, Mr. Odame Agyekum, a Director at the Audit Service, told the committee, which had Samuel Atta Akyea controlling affairs, that the GNPC should not take glory in submitting their 2010 and 2011 reports, since they were presented late.
"Indeed, the 2010 and 2011 reports have been submitted, and we are commenting on them in the 2012 Auditor-General's report, which will be in Parliament very soon. But then, we are talking about submission of reports in three months after the end of the ensuing year. And so, if you have submitted them now, it's way beyond the statutory mandated date. And I don't think it is anything they should be proud of," he noted.
His rebuttal attracted further comments from Atta Akyea, who inquired from the Auditor-General whether there was any punitive action attached to delays in submitting financial statements.
Mr. Agyekum, in response, said the Audit Service did not, specifically, provide punitive sanctions, but could apply surcharge and disallowance.
"We could talk to the Controller and Accountant-General to withhold the salary of the Director of Finance as long as the financial statement remains un-submitted," he added.
Commenting on the issue, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNPC, Nana Boakye Asafu-Adjaye, said the delay in submitting their 2012 report was as a result of a request made by the corporation 's external auditors to do an extended audit on such a report before submitting it.
The PAC, not enthused about the explanation given, urged the GNPC to live up to expectations, since it had the benefit of tomorrow. Sitting continues today.