AG outlines Auditor General’s failure to follow Audit Act
June 6, 2021 6:55 am
Attorney General and Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. [Source: Parliament of the Republic of Fiji]
The Office of the Auditor-General has come under fire for not following provisions of the Audit Act when conducting performance audits.
Under the Act, the OAG is empowered to audit government entities to determine whether they are achieving their targets and if they are operating effectively, efficiently and in compliance with relevant laws.
However, Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum says the Act also states that the Auditor-General must prepare specifications that set out the particular objective of the audit and any particular issues to be addressed.
He adds there are also provisions for the OAG to determine the intervals at which the audits are to be conducted and the number of audits for each financial year.
“This is not made known it is currently being made willy-nilly. This sort of thing should be available on their website. Entities must know when it will be conducted, how many audits will be conducted. In particular for performance audits. There needs to be transparency.”
Sayed-Khaiyum also highlighted that nothing in the Act entitles the Auditor General to question the merit of policy objectives of the government.
“It says, in this section policy objectives include a government policy direction of a minister, a policy statement in a budge paper, a statement of objectives in a corporate plan approved by a minister and any other document evidencing a policy decision of the government.”
The minister adds that parliamentary committees should ask probing questions of the Auditor General when scrutinizing reports.
“Given the current track record of how these reports have been produced, notwithstanding the fact that whilst management has provided responses in some of these reports, the Auditor General did not want to include that. The Public Accounts Committee must enquire with the OAG as to how they have arrived at some of these conclusions and not take it as the gospel truth.”
Sayed-Khaiyum says there are numerous examples of where the audit findings are incorrect.