Public Financial Accountability And Independent Oversight Institutions In Ghana, 1993-2016

Author/s: S Pimpong, PhD
Availability: Open Access
Type: Thesis
Year: 2001
Institution: University of Ghana

Abstract: This study sought to evaluate the constitutional-legal and institutional framework for promoting and enhancing public financial accountability (PFA) in Ghana since the advent of the Fourth Republic in 1993. The study focused on three independent oversight institutions; the Office of the Auditor-General (A-G), Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and the Financial Administration Courts (FAC) in the enhancement of financial accountability in the public sector. In Ghana, the Auditor-General’s reports have persistently blamed public financial accountability failures on weak internal control systems, despite the existence of oversight horizontal accountability institutions. The fundamental question that runs through this work is whether the constitutional-legal and institutional framework put in place to enhance public financial accountability in Ghana has actually achieved its purpose. This study, however, argues that public financial accountability failures in Ghana denotes poor internal control systems that signifies deficits in oversight institutions. This study adopted a largely qualitative research approach. Face-to-face Interviews, review of primary and secondary documents and the direct observation methods were employed as tools for data collection. The study reveals the presence of a good and detailed constitutional-legal framework that promotes and enhances PFA in Ghana. However, the absence of applying sanctioning mechanisms to wrongdoers, deficiencies in institutional capacity of the three institutions, coupled with financial and human resource limitations, have had an adverse impact on PFA. The study consequently argues that constitutional-legal rules and regulations do not operate in isolation, but require supporting institutions and reforms to deliver the anticipated outcome in public financial accountability. The study also reveals lack of harmonized policy and coordinated mechanisms among the three oversight Institutions, and argues that, reforms within the public sector requires changes in the approach of individuals (especially public officials) as well as changes in organizational culture in Ghana, and that the mere reprimands by Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee without the necessary sanctions meted out to wrongdoers by the Financial Administration Courts, has the tendency to retard any efforts towards the improvement of PFA in Ghana.

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