Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Audit Department to remain independent

PRIME Minister Tillman Thomas has given a commitment to maintain the independence of the Audit Department within the Ministry of Finance.

The Prime Minister, who is also responsible for the Public Service, gave the commitment to his Cabinet and senior public officers, during a recent presentation to the Cabinet by the Acting Director of Audit and the Deputy Director of Audit.

The two senior officials were at the time updating Cabinet on the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/66/209 entitled “Prioritising the Efficiency, Accountability, Effectiveness and Transparency of Public Administration by Strengthening Supreme Audit Institutions”.

In this resolution, the United Nations General Assembly for the first time expressly recognised that a “supreme audit institution” can “objectively and efficiently” accomplish its task if it is independent from the audited entity and is protected against outside influence.

“We must utilise the services of the Audit Department to effectively protect the public purse. This is a key component in developing trust between the elected and those who elected us,” the Prime Minister said.

During the December 17, 2012 presentation to Cabinet, the Acting Director of Audit called on Prime Minister Thomas and his Cabinet to review and update the Audit Act, which was passed in 2007, with the removal of certain sections which limited the independence of the Audit Department.

Prime Minister Thomas immediately requested the Attorney General to have his chambers review the model legislation and the final draft legislation to identify the process, so that the Audit Act could be amended as part of the Government’s 2013 legislative agenda.

As it relates to the reporting of audit results, the Prime Minister called on the acting Audit Director to make an amplified version of the reports available to the public and to address audit issues as required. PM Thomas is a staunch advocate of the good governance agenda, including the need for accountability and transparency.

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