FPAC presents report on audit investigation


12-September-2018

The Finance and Public Accounts Committee yesterday submitted its report on its inquiries into the Auditor General’s audit report for 2016 during the National Assembly’s first sitting for this trimester.

The report was signed and approved by all members of the committee.

A total of fourteen government entities were examined by the FPAC in relation to the AG’s audit report for 2016.

They were chosen according to the types of deficiencies in their organisation observed in the audit and that demanded to be examined further in order for corrective actions to be taken.

The report was presented to the National Assembly by the chairperson of the FPAC, Wavel Ramkalawan.

“With this report the FPAC has cleared all the AG’s audit reports and we are waiting for the 2017 audit report which will undergo the same scrutiny,” he started off.

Mr Ramkalawan explained that the FPAC had meant to submit the report at an earlier stage but had been delayed by certain officers from some of the entities who had been unable to show up for the sessions.

In the examination of these entities the FPAC remarked several pertinent shortcomings, most notably a lack of general knowledge on government regulations, policies and procedures during the acquisition of services and other items.

While summing up the report, Mr Ramkalawan added that the FPAC noted that certain products or services were paid for without taking into account these standards of procedures which results into the government receiving value for its money.

A lack in control, absence of effective systems to maintain state assets, absence of proper record management, bank accounts of an accumulated cost of around R134 million by December 2016 that had not been included with the government’s own accounts were among some of the other shortcomings stated in the FPAC report.

FPAC however also acknowledged that certain agencies and departments had made great efforts in restructuring and on improving on their weaknesses that had been noted in the audit report.

 

In the report, the committee suggested these following corrective recommended actions:

  • Each government entity should have enough officers that are equipped with the necessary training to discharge their work correctly. Subsequently, the Department for Public Administration (DPA) should operate in collaboration with other government agencies to address these needs.
  • Meanwhile the Ministry of Finance should consider, where necessary, the financing of agencies based on their specific needs.
  • There should be improved internal control in all government entities to ensure that expenditures and revenues are managed in conformity to laws and procedures.
  • Government organisations should also promote and encourage the acquisition of goods and services that are not only better priced but also provides value for money.
  • Ministry of Finance should review all public financed bank accounts that are not included in the Treasury system and ensure that they are reflected in the totality of the government’s accounts.
  • Ministry of Finance should accelerate the selling or lease of government assets that have already been chosen to be sold or rented out.

Their main conclusions were that the AG’s audit report and subsequent investigation on the FPAC’s part are essential elements in ensuring transparency in the way the government conducts its business and manage public funds.

“It is important that all ministries, departments or agencies make use of the information detailed out in the audit report to address the weaknesses in their individual organisation,” Mr Ramkalawan stated.

Additionally, the FPAC also concluded that there would be a further investigation in the case where a judge had refuted the claims of an officer that had given evidence under oath during the committee’s inquiry process.

The committee expects to provide the National Assembly with additional details in this case at a later date.

Due to the critical role of the Auditor General’s office and that of the FPAC to shed light on public expenditures, Mr Ramkalwan stated that the report recommends that both organisations receive adequate resources and that their capacities should be reinforced.

These details along with the interactions between the entities and the FPAC are available in the report which will be made accessible to the public on the National Assembly’s website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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