Audit Office rejects false reports

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CONTROLLER AND CHIEF AUDITOR: Fuimaono Camillo Afele.

CONTROLLER AND CHIEF AUDITOR: Fuimaono Camillo Afele.

“The Audit Laws before the legislative amendments passed by Parliament in 2014 required that the Controller and Auditor General submit a Report to Parliament every year. So far the current Controller and Auditor General, has submitted to the Legislative Assembly 11 Reports on Irregularities and Audits to Parliament since appointment in late 2010"

 

The Audit Office has strongly rejected reports that it has failed in its role to conduct and complete audits for the last 17 years. 

The rejection is made in an Information Paper it had issued on 31 August 2017 to inform all stakeholders about the current and future status of accounts, audits and reports to Parliament.

Part of the Information Paper was the subject of a statement released by the Press Secretary on Thursday night. 

This statement was published in the Samoa Observer yesterday under the headline “Audit Office dismisses “unfounded” and “defamatory” statements.

It was when the story came out yesterday that the Samoa Observer was informed the Information Paper was only partly used in the statement from the Press Secretary.

The initial Information Paper issued on 31 August 2017 was signed by Audit Office’s Director of Legal Unit, Vaipou Fetulia’i Lagaaia. 

The paper was set out to address what the Audit Office described as “unfair and unfounded spread and publication of defamatory statements against the professional reputation and credibility of the Samoa Audit Office that the current and past Controllers and Auditors-General have worked hard to build since the establishment of the Samoa Audit Office.” 

The information paper is published here in full:

INFORMATION PAPER – 31 AUGUST 2017

There have been discrepancies and falsities in both the print and social media in relation to accounts, audits and reports to Parliament and with emphasis on the alleged failed role of the Controller and Auditor General and his Office or the Samoa Audit Office to conduct and complete audits for the last 17 years.  

It is important therefore that the Samoa Audit Office issues this Information Paper to inform all Stakeholders about the current and future status of accounts, audits and reports to Parliament as well as refresh knowledge and understanding of all Stakeholders about the role, functions and procedures or processes of the Audit Office including its communication and reporting of irregularities and audit results to Parliament interfacing with parliamentary procedures and protocols. 

Furthermore, the Information Paper also intends to share reforms and developments undertaken by the Audit Office from 2006 to date. These reforms and developments formed the most comprehensive reforms ever undertaken by the Audit Office since Self-government and Independence of Samoa as a Nation.

The Appendix that accompanies this Information Paper presents information for Stakeholders under the following categories.

 

I. Current status of accounts and audits

II. Current status of communication and reporting of audits to Cabinet and Government Stakeholders

III. Current status of communication and reporting of audits to Lenders and Donors 

IV. Current status of communication and reporting of audits to the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Parliamentary Stakeholders 

V. Current status of communication and reporting of audits to Other Stakeholders such as Professional Stakeholders, Media and Citizens

VI. Traditional Role and Functions of the Audit Office

VII. New Functions of the Audit Office

VIII. The developments and reforms of the Samoa Audit Office

IX. The Future

X. Communications and reports to Parliament and Parliamentary Committees from the Public Sector 

 

We trust that this Information Paper will raise and maintain awareness of all of our Stakeholders as identified in our Communication Strategy about the work of the Controller and Auditor General and the Audit Office. 

This Information Paper should also address the unfair and unfounded spread and publication of defamatory statements against the professional reputation and credibility of the Samoa Audit Office that the current and past Controllers and Auditors-General have worked hard to build since the establishment of the Samoa Audit Office. 

To state briefly and summarise what it is in the Appendix, the current Controller and Auditor General has held Office for 6 years now and not 17 years as falsely reported. During his 6 years in Office, the accounts and audits have been completed up to financial year ended 30 June 2016. 

Communication and reporting of Irregularities to the Legislative Assembly have been completed up to financial year ended 30 June 2016 while communication and reporting of Audits to Parliament have been completed up to financial year ended 30 June 2015. Pursuant to Parliamentary Standing Order 162, these audit reports cannot be published by any person, until the reports of the Constitutional Offices Committee of Parliament on the Reports of the Audit Office have been presented to Parliament.

The achievements in updated accounts, audits and reports to Parliament have been reached in despite there being a backlog or arrears of accounts, audits and reports to parliament inherited by the current and past Controllers and Auditors General of between 3 to 5 years since the establishment of the Samoa Audit Office. 

The Audit Laws before the legislative amendments passed by Parliament in 2014 required that the Controller and Auditor General submit a Report to Parliament every year. So far the current Controller and Auditor General, has submitted to the Legislative Assembly 11 Reports on Irregularities and Audits to Parliament since appointment in late 2010.

The new Audit Laws passed in 2014 encourage frequent and more Reports to Parliament every year so the Controller and Auditor General and the Audit Office are now working towards producing reports for Parliament on a 6 monthly basis by financial year ending 30 June 2020 and on a quarterly basis by financial year ending 30 June 2024.   

The Appendix accompanying this Information Paper can be accessed from the Samoa Audit Office Website and can also be provided via email if requested. This Information Paper is respectfully submitted for and on behalf of the Controller and Auditor General and the Samoa Audit Office.

© Samoa Observer 2016

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