The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Jean Mensa, has been adjudged the best head of covered entities under the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) category for the 2022-2023 auditing year by the Internal Audit Agency (IAA). Mrs Mensa received the award for leading the EC to implement a number of reforms that helped to promote accountability and transparency in the management of the public purse at the Commission.
The Senior Presidential Advisor, Yaw Osafo-Maafo, presented the award to her at the Internal Audit Agency’s annual conference held at the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) last Friday, (Sept 15). A citation read in her honour stated in part: “The Internal Audit Agency recognises your timely implementation of audit recommendations and general support to internal audit unit activities. You ensured that the Internal Audit unit was provided with adequate resources, space and logistics to enable it to deliver on its mandate in an objective and independent manner devoid of intimidation.” “Your actions have undoubtedly enhanced the Internal control systems of the Electoral Commission,” the citation added.
In an interview with Graphic Online’s Timothy Ngenbe after the award, the EC Chairperson said it was refreshing that although the Commission had been working behind the scenes to establish systems that would promote efficient management of resources, the efforts had been recognised by the IAA.
Touching on some of the interventions, she said in 2020, the EC managed to reduce the cost of elections from $13 per head to $7.70 “and saved our country a whopping $90 million compared with what was spent in 2016.” Mrs Mensa said the Commission made a deliberate effort to apply a number of procurement practices to ensure the prudent use of resources.
“Mainly, we have used a competitive bidding process by advertising about 95 per cent materials in the newspapers with the exception of printing which we have to rely on companies that have been printing since the 1990s,” she said. She added that for the first time in the country’s history, the Commission established an internal audit unit in 2020.
“This internal audit unit is operated by professionals. They apply a lot of scrutiny to our processes to ensure efficient use of resources,” she said. Aside from that she said the EC had instituted an audit committee which was an external body that work to ensure compliance with the Public Financial Management Act and the Public Procurement Act.
“We are a commission that believes in transparency and accountability and to the very best of our ability, we try to be prudent in the use of the public purse,” she stressed.
Mrs Mensa said the recognition by the IAA as the best MDA was not only “a collective joy”, but that it was a motivation to do more to ensure prudent utilisation of public funds. The Internal Audit Agency is set up to perform its functions under Section 23 of the Internal Audit Agency Act 2003, (Act 658).
The Agency is required to provide quality assurance and promote the practice of internal auditing in the public service. The Agency works with the Office of the President and other relevant stakeholders to promote the practice of internal audit and enhance the work of the internal auditors for quality internal audit service in the public sector. This is to promote transparency, accountability and safeguarding of public sector resources.
Under Act 658, covered entities include the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary; constitutional bodies, MDAs, local government authorities, the public service, autonomous agencies and statutory bodies.
By: Timothy Ngnenbe