Au­di­tor gen­eral of­fice seeks au­ton­omy

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

The Of­fice of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral (OAG) has tabled the draft of a new leg­is­la­tion in par­lia­ment in an at­tempt to go in­de­pen­dent.

The Au­dit Bill of 2015, , seeks to re­pealp the out­dated Au­dit Act ct of 1973 and the Statu­tory Bod­ies Acts s of 1973 which cur­rently guide the op­er­a­tions of the OAG.

The of­fice, whose func­tion is to pro­mote sus­tain­ablee pub­lic ac­count­abil­ity, trans­paren­cy­parency and value for money by pro­vid­ing ro­vid­ing au­dit­ing ser­vices, cur­rent­lyently does not have fi­nan­cial and ad­min­is­tra­tive au­ton­omy omy as it a statu­tory bodyy whose staff is reg­u­lated un­der laws and reg­u­la­tions of the civil ser­vice, while its fi­nances are from the min­istry of fi­nance.

“The ob­ject of the Bill is to re­peal Au­dit Act, 1973, and the Au­dit (Statu­tory Bod­ies) Act, 1973 in or­der to pro­vide for the es­tab­lish­ment t and in­de­pen­dence of the Of­fice of the Au­di­tor-gen­eral in line with sec­tion 117 of the Con­sti­tu­tion,” reads part of the bill’s state­ment of ob­jec­tives and rea­sons.

Among other ob­jec­tives, the bill seeks to es­tab­lish an au­dit rev­enue to over­see ef­fec­tive­ness of the in in­ter­nal con­trols of the OAG.

It fur­ther sh shows that con­di­tions of ser­vice and re­mu­ner­a­tion for the Deputy Au­dito Au­di­tor Gen­eral and other mem­bers of the staff shall be de­ter­mined by the Au Au­di­tor Gen­eral.

In an intervi in­ter­view with the Au­di­tor Gen­eral Mrs. L Lucy Liphafa, lack of au­tonom au­ton­omy on hu­man re­sources f func­tion presents the offi of­fice with chal­lenges a as the au­dit­ing pro­fes­sion has unique ethics that do not nec­es­sar­ily ap­ply to the rest of the civil ser­vice.

“One of the im­por­tant is­sues to be re­viewed un­der the new law is staffing. We would like to have the free­dom to ap­point the type of staff that we need. As it is some­times we would just be sent any­body they like as part of place­ment of grad­u­ates.

“The prob­lem with that is we would be given in­ter­nal au­di­tors from Tech­ni­cons whereas we would pre­fer those who have grad­u­ated in Eco­nom­ics, Bcom, Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion and so on. So, you will find that when th­ese peo­ple ar­rive in the of­fice, they re­ally strug­gle to work,” Liphafa said in an in­ter­view with Le­sotho Times on the side lines of a me­dia work­shop on Tues­day.

She fur­ther in­di­cated that be­cause they do not han­dled their own re­cruit­ment, the process of re­plac­ing mem­bers who have left takes a long time. This is over and above the fact that they are al­ready un­der­staffed.

She said this lack of hu­man re­sources com­pro­mises the func­tion of the of­fice, as it can­not reach all sec­tors of the pub­lic ac­counts.

An­other ma­jor chal­lenge the cur­rent le­gal frame­work presents is lack of fi­nan­cial in­de­pen­dence, which leads to in­suf­fi­cient bud­get al­lo­ca­tion that does not meet their re­quire­ments.

“As it is you may find that some­times 85 per­cent of our bud­get al­lo­ca­tions goes to salaries of our staff, and we are ex­pected to carry out our ac­tiv­i­ties with the re­main­der,” she added.

“But if we were to have ad­e­quate re­sources to em­ploy the cal­iber of peo­ple and the equip­ment we need, all this mis­man­age­ment of pub­lic funds would be abated, since we would pick up such ac­tiv­i­ties eas­ily,” Liphafa ex­plained.

She said the new law would also im­prove the way in which the of­fice re­ports its find­ing to par­lia­ment. The OAG re­leases an an­nual au­dit re­port on the us­age of pub­lic fi­nances.

“The chal­lenge here is the man­ner in which the re­port is tabled, be­cause we are ex­pect­ing that when the re­port is given out, it should high­light the find­ings it con­tains even be­fore it is tabled be­fore the pub­lic ac­counts com­mit­tee.”

She wants the au­dit re­port to be pub­lished in a sim­i­lar man­ner to that of the bud­get speech es­ti­mates which are high­lighted in front of the joint sit­ting of par­lia­ment.

Prin­ci­pal Le­gal Of­fi­cer Mrs Mat­sie Mape­sela said the ten­ure of au­di­tor gen­eral would also be re­viewed un­der the new law in line with in­ter­na­tional stan­dards. She said the bill is cur­rently be­fore the eco­nomic clus­ter com­mit­tee of the par­lia­ment.

“Upon the pas­sage of this law, there will be en­hanced in­de­pen­dence. Like I said ear­lier, we only have op­er­a­tional in­de­pen­dence, we are not yet au­ton­o­mous,” Mape­sela said dur­ing the me­dia work­shop.

She said the new law would also al­low for ex­ter­nal au­dit­ing of the work of the of­fice of the au­di­tor gen­eral.

Au­di­tor Gen­eral Lucy Liphafa.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.