Board Chairman of Internal Audit Agency (IAA), Joe Winful, has disclosed that the agency is being restructured to ensure it effectively discharges its duties.
Mr Winful revealed that the agency “has not been very effective” depite being in existence for sometime. This, he explained, is due to the absence of “independence and professionalism by the agency staff”.
According to him, the law responsible for setting up the agency structured it in a way that the internal audit unit are “controlled by those that are supposed to be checking”.
“So, the internal audit as you see it today is being restructured. In other to carry out the restructuring effectively, we’ve got to have that law repealed and they are now in the process. It will have to go to the cabinet then from there it’ll go to the parliament for the repeal of that Act 6 (58). Other than that, it’s going to be very difficult because the internal audit staff will have to be very independent, fearless and then objective. Now, that has been absent to a large extent and that is why these loopholes are still in and the compliance is weak…”Mr Joe Winful
In light of addressing the loopholes and corruption within some governmental institutions, Mr Winful also commented on the implication of some staff of the Ghana Revenue Authority for aiding businesses to circumvent acquisition of clearance certificates. He revealed that employees of the Authority must understand and ensure collection of revenue is “done properly”.
He explained that this will bring about efficiency in not only our revenue collection “but in the processes, we’ll follow to get to that end”. Mr Winful noted that in the “private sector” persons found to be complicit will be fired when discovered they are trying to “enrich” themselves.
Dealing with GRA staff complicit in corruption
Justifying his stance, the IAA Board Chairman explained that not all the amount collected by staff were paid into the “government’s chest”. As such, perpetrators cannot lay claim to “trying to help” government in revenue collection.
“There were some of the amount [which] apparently ended up with the individual”.Mr Joe Winful
Mr Winful emphasized that there were intentions on the part of some GRA staff to carry out such acts and as such called for their dismissal. Owing to this, he assented dismissing culprits of the crime will send out a signal to other staff that “they won’t get away with it if they practice that”. He also admitted that there is also a weakness within the whole process “of our revenue assessment and collection”.
The IAA Board Chairman indicated that there will be a need to review systems put in place by the Authority to find out the “weaknesses between the control mechanisms”. He also advised that “senior persons” must be held accountable as they are the ones charged with actually “providing oversight”.
“I don’t think it’s a major issue at the institution. Most likely, its just the tip of the iceberg and maybe we can say that it’s giving us the opportunity to look into the whole institution and see how best we can improve on what we are doing because it has repercussions on our development”.Mr Joe Winful