Government must pay more attention to internal auditing to win the fight against corruption, Dr Eric Oduro Osae, Director General, Internal Audit Agency (IAA), has said.
He said the internal audit function was a pre-corruption and preventive task that must be 'empowered' not to waste resources in chasing funds that had already been stolen.
"It is better to prevent people from stealing and if we want to do that and do it well, we have to resource Internal Auditors."
Dr Osae said this at the launch of the IAA's new website, on Tuesday, in Accra, as part of efforts to support government to reposition its agenda towards fighting corruption.
He said the website was aimed at improving interactions with stakeholders towards supporting the fight against corruption.
The website will also provide Internal Auditors a very good opportunity to submit their reports online to prevent interferences.
Dr Osae said the Agency had chalked a number of successes including restructuring and monitoring public sector internal audit, resulting in saving over GHC522 million of public funds that could have gone down the drain.
He said in recent times, the phase of internal auditing in the country had changed through the reconstruction and repositioning of the Agency under the leadership of the Board.
"The Agency has taken steps to publish names of defaulting institutions that failed to submit quarterly internal audit report to the Agency and this naming and shaming would continue and if they fail to comply, we would activate the independent powers of the Director General under the Internal Audit Agency Act and also make recommendations for the Minister For Finance to withhold additional budgetary releases to such defaulting institutions and in the extreme cases prosecute people found culpable under the Act."
He asked managers of the GIFMIS platform to reconfigure the system to allow Internal Auditors have access to the platform to be able to stop irregular transactions mid-stream rather than allowing them to have a view only when transactions had ended.
"That is a post corruption attitude, but we want a pre-corruption attitude."
Dr Osae called for a rationalisation of salaries and conditions of service of Internal Auditors in line with the current internal audit practices to motivate staff to give of the best.
"Internal Auditors in this country are calling for a complete overhaul of the Internal Audit Agency Act, so that once the Act is passed or revised they can have a new Internal Audit Service that can work like Ghana Audit Service to better provide the assurance and advisory service to government as required."
Mr Joseph Winful, Board Chairman, IAA urged Internal Auditors to make sure they contributed to the security of the website as it was going to be a means of improving the transmission and interaction with stakeholders, including aggrieved persons.
"You would be trained to go through the website easily, so I expect you to embrace the new technologies and try to be protectors of the website to ensure its success."
Mr Eli K. Evans, Lead Web Developer, said the website would address some basic challenges of the Agency, including access to information and submission of reports.
He said the website was a much secured one, mobile friendly, cross browser compatible, social media integrated, search engine optimized, easy to use, navigate and submit reports, and easy to update with common content management system.
"The website has a download section for the public and a member's only section, a live chat via WhatsApp section, and can be used for sharing. There is also a contact form and map integration section, as well as an event section," he added.
Mr Evans encouraged Internal Auditors to endeavour to submit their reports online to facilitate their work and reduce delays.