Government is planning to set up audit committees in all ministries to enhance transparency and ensure that audit findings are implemented. In an interview, Auditor General Mildred Chiri said the Finance and Economic Development Ministry was working on modalities to introduce the committees which are in line with the Public Finance Management Act.
“According to section 84 of the Public Finance Management Act, there should be an audit committee for each ministry, however, this is still to be implemented,” she said. “A pilot has been done in the Ministry of Health and the Finance Ministry is now working on modalities to enact the audit committees.
“The audit committees will enhance transparency and assist internal auditors in ensuring that their findings are implemented as the audit committee will see to it that all issues which are not in order are rectified.” In her audit report for 2014, Mrs Chiri exposed serious governance deficiencies within Government bordering on fraud, lack of accountability and transparency.
Governance weaknesses were observed in areas of internal controls of financial resources, record keeping, diversion of resources from fund accounts to ministries, reconciliations, late submission of fund accounts and management of Government properties and resources. The report noted that if the deficiencies were not urgently addressed, they would continue draining “critical resources” while failure to pay for goods and services on time may attract litigation.
While most of the irregularities were revealed in the previous audits, the ministries were not taking action, hence some of the weaknesses remained unresolved. Mrs Chiri said there was need for the Public Finance Management Act to provide specific regulations which relate to local authorities, central Government and parastatals as there is a gap in that regard.
The World Bank recently availed a $20 million grant to the office of the Auditor General for the Public Financial Management Enhancement Project which will assist Government in improving its financial reporting through installing new models of software.
The grant is also aimed at improving internal audit so that they can check the control systems in place to see whether people are complying with the requirements of financial management and the law. Beyond this, the World Bank will also help the office of the Auditor General to perform its function and assist the Government department in improving its auditing skills.
The African Development Bank has also released a $2,8 million grant towards capacitating the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General to enhance its audit functions. The grant comes at a time when Government is in the process of strengthening institutions that have an oversight role particularly on corporate governance as it seeks to create favourable conditions for business. – Wires.