Mr Myles Ongoh, Assistant Director, Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme has said internal auditing is a game-changer to strengthening the social accountability processes to safeguard the public purse.
He said internal audit value addition imbued with capacity skills building sharpens the alertness of officials to sniff malfeasance several kilometres away.
Mr Ongoh disclosed these in a workshop to boost the skills of officials of LEAP Management Secretariat, staff of the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection and officials of the Department of Social Welfare on internal auditing practices in Ho.
The workshop is therefore a pre-emptive measure to build the capacity of its staff to be one-step ahead audit adversaries and malfeasance.
He said the nuances of understanding audit was crucial in safeguarding financial releases saying if benchmarks are unavailable to track or serve as a checklist, many malfeasance was likely to be perpetuated to defeat the import of the programme.
The Assistant Director said social accountability is critical to ensuring that staff work in accordance with the law.
Mr Ongoh said some 334,000 households translating into 1.4 million individuals are benefitting from the programme, who receive a monthly stipend for their upkeep.
He said LEAP is grateful to be collaborating with the Internal Audit Agency establishment to sharpen the skills of its workers adding ‘’monies entrusted to our care would be judiciously expended for the purpose.’’
Mr Samuel Gyekye-Mensah, Acting Director, Technical Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) said his outfit is mandated by the Internal Audit ACT (658) of 2003 to support public sector institutions to build capacity to ensure effective internal audit practice and coordinating quality assurance for audit practice.
He said this it does through institutional support for effective systems for risk management in compliance with section 7.2 of the Public Financial Management ACT (921).
Mr Lateef Mamudu, Internal Auditor of the LEAP said the Programme provides cash and health insurance to extremely poor households across the country to alleviate short-term poverty and encourage long-term human capital development.
He said the training would engender basic understanding of tools needed to fast-track competence in enterprise risk management and make outcomes of audit systems pass the test of time.
Topics to be discussed for the five-day training include enterprise risk management, public financial management, soft skills negotiation, and internal audit value addition and action plan preparation.
LEAP is a form of social protection that involves a non-contributory direct cash transfer to a beneficiary that seeks to reduce poverty by smoothening consumption and promoting access to services and opportunities among extremely poor and vulnerable households in the country.
Its objective is to increase access to health, improve basic school enrolment, attendance and retention and facilitate access to complimentary services.
LEAP takes care of orphans and vulnerable children, the elderly without support, persons with disabilities without productive capacity and extremely poor pregnant women and lactating mothers with children under one year.
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