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PASAI’s 20th Congress held in Tuvalu

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) held their 20th Congress in Funafuti, Tuvalu from 8 August – 11 August 2017. Over 40 participants from 23 SAI members and development partners attended the Congress, which had the theme “Promoting the Values and Benefits of SAIs through Effective Communication”.

Acting Prime Minister, also Deputy Prime Minister of Tuvalu Hon. Maatia Toafa was the keynote speaker at the Opening Ceremony, mentioning the importance of the Congress theme, particularly for Tuvalu and its recent update of their audit Act. “With these changes and increased powers, comes additional accountability. This accountability must be effectively communicated to stakeholders in order to be demonstrated,” said Hon. Toafa.

The Prime Minister of Tuvalu Hon. Enele Sopoaga hosted a state dinner for the PASAI Congress delegates on the night of the opening of Congress. Welcoming the SAI Heads from around the Pacific, he applauded their role and those of public officers in general, in leading their nations in trust and respect. Speaking about the Tuvalu government, “This government is fully committed to the principles of transparency, good governance and accountability,” he said.

Congress delegates participated in productive dialogue during the communications workshop, coming up with creative ideas and viable solutions for the challenges whichmany of them face in promoting the values and benefits of SAIs and engaging their stakeholders. Important decisions were achieved during the PASAI AGM and business sessionsthathavepositionedPASAIpurposefullytoachievetheirstrategicplan  and objectives for the region. The Governing Board of PASAI also held their 17th meeting on 7 August 2017 as part of the Congress proceedings.

SAI Heads recognized the importance of having more dialogue with their colleagues, stakeholders and development partners locally to build strong relationships and trust for maximum engagement for the work that their SAI is doing. This would in turn strengthen accountability and transparency across the region.  “The Congress has been a successwith key decisions being made by the members relating to future funding of PASAI to ensure effective delivery of the PASAI strategy” said Mr. Ihlen K. Joseph, Public Auditor of Pohnpei State - FSM and outgoing Chairman of PASAI.

Auditor-General of Tuvalu, Mr Eli Lopati with his staff and the wider community, hosted the Congress with joy, warmth and unique Tuvalu flavour. Sharing their life and culture through food, dance, music, singing and a special excursion to Tepuka island, Congress participants were treated to an exceptional insight to Tuvalu.

PASAI acknowledges the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for their valued support with this Congress.

Delegates of the 20th Congress in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

Delegates of the 20th Congress in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

Delegates of the 20th Congress in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

Delegates of the 20th Congress in Funafuti, Tuvalu.

IPSASB e-news : July 2017

The International Public Sector Accounting Standards Board (IPSASB) held its second meeting of the year from June 27-June 30. Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union in Luxembourg, hosted the meeting, which was opened by Dr. Silke Stapel-Weber, Director of Directorate C: National Accounts, Prices and Key Indicators, Eurostat.

Mapping and iCAT Workshop for Tonga

A workshop on Conducting Mapping and iCAT (ISSAI Compliance Assessment Tools) was held at the Tungi Colonnade Hotel, Nuku’alofa, Tonga for the staff of the Tonga Office of the Auditor General (TOAG). The workshop was delivered by the Norway based INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), an organisation that supports the strengthening of performance and capacities of government audit offices or Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) around the world.

The workshop is the start of support to SAI Tonga for implementing ISSAIs (International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions) under the Support for External Oversight Function of the Public Financial Management System (Tonga). The 30 or so participants which included the senior management staff of the TOAG, were trained on a method to implement ISSAIs in a holistic and phased approach. It is holistic as it involves the adoption and implementation of ISSAIs for financial, compliance and performance audits; and phased allowing the TOAG to be fully compliant with the standards over a period of time, while at the same time have minimum impact on the usual operational work of the TOAG.

Mr. Sefita Tangi, Auditor-General of Tonga remarked, “The Tonga Audit Office is grateful for this opportunity to pilot in the Pacific region the SAI level support project of the IDI’s global ISSAI implementation initiative, 3i Programme Phase II. The expected outcome of this project is ISSAI compliant audits conducted by the TOAG.”

The workshop was facilitated by Shofiqul Islam, IDI Manager Capacity Development, and assisted by Eroni Vatuloka, PASAI PFM (Public Financial Management) Consultant.

PASAI acknowledges the kind financial support of the Australian Government and the IDI in improving public financial management in Tonga.

IPSAS Training for Tonga Government

The Pacific Association for Supreme Audit Intuitions (PASAI) and the University of the South Pacific (USP) partnered last week to promote improved government transparency and accountability through training on ‘International Public Sector Accounting Standards’ (IPSAS).

The week-long training programme from 3-7 July 2017 for the Tonga government accountants and auditors concluded on Friday in Nuku’alofa, Tonga. It was attended by 30 participants from the Office of the Auditor-General, Ministry of Finance and National Planning, government ministries and public enterprises. The participants are now more equipped with the skills needed to produce financial statements in line with international accounting standards.

“The high level of participation including attendance during a public holiday underscores the importance of attaining the world’s best accounting skills and standards,” said Mr Sefita Tangi, Auditor-General of Tonga.

The USP also delivered an online course on IPSAS Cash Basis using its online learning management system called ‘Moodle’. Four staff of the Tonga Office of the Auditor-General and two from the Ministry of Finance and National Planning participated in this online learning.

“Australia is pleased to support this important work in Tonga. Strengthened accounting skills and broader public financial management will help to build the confidence of both the general public and those wanting to invest in Tonga’s future”, said Australia’s Deputy High Commissioner, Rhona McPhee.

The programme is one of the activities under the Support for External Oversight Function of the Public Financial Management System (Tonga) which aims to enhance the knowledge and interpretation of IPSAS and their application. The use of cases from the Tonga Whole of Government and public enterprises accounts assisted the participants in understanding the practical application of the standards. The knowledge gained from the training hopes to improve the quality of the financial statements of Tonga government and public enterprises.

PASAI acknowledges the kind financial support of the Australian Government in improving public financial management in Tonga.

Photo: Workshop facilitators and participants. 

Photo: Workshop facilitators and participants. 

After 6 years, Marshall Islands govt files an audit on time

For the first time in six years, the Marshall Islands government has completed its annual financial audit on time, confirming improvements in the financial accountability system at the Ministry of Finance.

For the full article, CLICK HERE
By Giff Johnson, RNZ Pacific correspondent in Majuro.

Tuvalu Communications training for Stakeholder Engagement

PASAI was in Tuvalu last week conducting a communications workshop, ‘Communicating and Promoting Value and Benefits of SAI’. This workshop is the fourth SAI specific communications training that PASAI has delivered over the last12 months, with the aim to improve report writing and stakeholder engagement for its members.

In addition to the nine staff of the audit office, participants also included three staff from the Tuvalu Broadcasting Corporation (TVBC) and the Media Liaison officer of the Prime Minister’s office.

In his opening remarks, Auditor-General Mr. Eli Lopati stated, “It is expected that after this workshop, the audit staff will be able to provide report writing at the expected level and also to formulate a good communication strategy for our office. For the rest of the participants, the non-auditors, I understand it will assist them to improve part of their responsibilities in their respective sectors and also to enablethem to prepare their communication strategy.”

Participants actively engaged in discussions and activities that equipped them with strategies, tools and knowledge on how to create a communications strategy and write clear reports. The sessions also covered presentation skills, dealing with the media, social media and how to write media releases.

Tuvalu SAI staff commented, “This training is a wake up call. The pre-test showedme that I need to improve my communication.” “The sessions are helping us with drafting our communication strategy for our office.  It been really good.”

Media Advisor for the Tuvalu Government, Silafaga Lalua Tauetia said, “The Tuvalu SAI Communication workshop has helped me boost my confidence in developing my own communication strategy and in doing my work as a communication officer.   Most importantly this opportunity has taught me about the work of our SAI and how I can help in the dissemination of its message to the citizens of Tuvalu.”

The Tuvalu Office of the Auditor-General will be hosting the 20th PASAI Congress from 8 – 11 August 2017 with the theme “Promoting Values and Benefits of SAIs through Effective Communication”. This workshop has been a good lead in to the Congress.

The training was co-facilitated by PASAI’s Director of Advocacy, Engagement and Financing, Aolele Su’a Aloese and PASAI’s Communications Advisor, Tina Vaka. The training was hosted by the Tuvalu Office of the Auditor-General and supported bythe Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Photo above: Participants of the Tuvalu Communications workshop with Auditor-General Eli Lopati (front row, second from the left) and guest speaker, Reverend Ken (front row, second from the right).

Photo above: Participants of the Tuvalu Communications workshop with Auditor-General Eli Lopati (front row, second from the left) and guest speaker, Reverend Ken (front row, second from the right).

Photo above:  Participants discussing who their stakeholders are.

Photo above:  Participants discussing who their stakeholders are.

Leadership opportunity with the PASAI Secretariat

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) is the official association of 28 Supreme Audit Institutions (government audit offices and similar organisations, known as SAIs) in the Pacific region. 

PASAI has an Auckland-based Secretariat and operates through a New Zealand-registered incorporated society. Its budget is about NZ$3 million each year, although this is expected to increase. Its work is funded by several development partners, including the Asian Development Bank, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the World Bank Group. 

To better align the current Secretariat to PASAI's 10-year Strategic Plan, PASAI is seeking suitably qualified and experienced staff. This staff will help the Secretariat deliver its Strategic Plan and promote transparent, accountable, effective, and efficient use of public sector resources in the Pacific. 

We're recruiting for the following accounting/auditing technical role: 

Director – Advocacy, Engagement and Financing: 

The Director – Advocacy, Engagement and Financing contributes to strengthening SAI independence, governance, transparency and accountability by developing and maintaining strong relationships with stakeholders and donors to finance and help the SAIs and PASAI achieve these objectives. 

This role is one of senior leader positions within the PASAI Secretariat. The person in this role will need to work together and with consultants to support the implementation and delivery of the strategic and operational plan. Some work will be carried out at locations within New Zealand, around the Pacific and further abroad. 

For more information on this role, please contact Tiofilusi Tiueti, Chief Executive, PASAI on +64 9 304 1275 or tiofilusi.tiueti@pasai.org, or for recruitment queries please contact Natalie Price on +64 9 304 1275 or natalie.price@pasai.org. 

You must apply online through www.jobs.govt.nz (and you'll find the position descriptions there, too). 

Applications close: Friday 14 July 2017. 

PASAI SEEKING EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST - South-South Co-operation Program Supporting Nauru SAI

At the February 2017 Governing Board meeting the Board approved the proposal for a sub-regional program to provide resources to the Nauru SAI to assist with the conduct of financial audits including the 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 Whole of Government financial statement audits.

The Secretariat has called this Nauru SAI sub-regional programme “Financial Audit Secondments Technical Support” or “FASTS program” and now welcomes Expressions of Interest (EOI) applications for Pacific Auditors of all PASAI members to be seconded to Nauru SAI to provide technical support in relation to the conduct of government financial audits.  The FASTS sub-regional programme are up to one month at a time and PASAI provides for up to four paid secondments annually over the next three years, beginning September 2017.  PASAI will pay for travel costs, accommodation and also provide an allowance according to PASAI’s travel policy.

The selection process consists of reviewing CVs, answers to Selection Criteria, statement to respond to “What will I expect to benefit from this Secondment opportunity?” and an interview process carried out by PASAI Secretariat.

We encourage Heads of SAI to share this opportunity with your staff as an excellent professional development experience and at the same time achieving PASAIs motto of “Pacific Auditors Working Together”. 

We look forward to your nominations and applications in support of this program.    

Deadline to apply: 31 August 2017

Should you need further information please contact Mrs A’eau Agnes Aruwafu at agnes.aruwafu@pasai.org

OFFICE OF THE FSM PUBLIC AUDITOR - Annual Financial Audit on the Caroline Islands Air, Inc. for Fiscal Year 2016

The Office of the National Public Auditor (ONPA) announces the release of the financial audit on the Caroline Islands Air, Inc. (CIA) for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2016. This is a part of the Single Audits for the FSM Government, which is outsourced to Deloitte & Touche under the oversight of the ONPA. A digital copy of the audit is available for public review online at www.fsmopa.fm and printed copies are available at the ONPA in Palikir, Pohnpei.

Background

CIA, a component unit of the FSM National Government, was established by Public Law 10-72 in December 1997, for the purposes of (1) providing air transportation services throughout the FSM, (2) contract with domestic and foreign persons and corporations for the provisions of aircraft and services, (3) operate domestic air transportation, (4) train citizens in professions related to aeronautics, (5) act as a "freely associated state air carrier" within the meaning of the Federal Program and Services Agreement concluded pursuant to the Compact of Free Association, (6) engage in support activities, included but not limited to, freight terminal and delivery activities and passenger services, and (7) enter into joint ventures with other entities in order to effectuate its operations.

It is governed by a six-member Board of Directors. Each of the four state governors recommends a representative. All Board members are appointed by the President with the consent of the Congress. The CEO serves as an ex-officio on the Board.

Financial Results

Based on the audit, the total operating revenues for CIA totalled $674,069. This is an increase of approximately $241,315 compared to prior year. This increase is due primarily to the increases in charter services and passenger airfare.

The total operating revenues comprised of $354,368 (52.6%) from charter services, $250,179 (37.1%) from passenger airfares, $49,668 (7.4%) from baggage fees, $17,844 (2.6%) from freights, and $2,010 (0.3%) from other services such as service fees and drums.

CIA's total operating costs for FY16 totalled $527,139. Of this amount, $331,288 (63%) came from maintenance and operations, $133,565 (25%) from salaries and housing, $27,537 (5%) from insurance, $14,911 (3%) from taxes, and $19,838 (4%) from other costs such as rent and depreciation.

Gross profit for CIA after deducting the operating costs from operating revenues amounted to $146,930, compared to $102,307 in prior year.


The following table summarizes the financial condition and operations for CIA for FY2016, FY2015 and FY2014:

Audit Findings and Opinion

Findings: There were no unresolved audit findings from the prior year audits for CIA.

Opinion: CIA, Inc. received an UNMODIFIED opinion on its 2016 audit. An unmodified opinion means that the entity's financial statements were fairly presented, in all material respects, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the US.

Deficiencies in internal control over financial reporting were identified during the course of the audit, which included the following:

1.     Written employment contracts were not utilized for several employees.

2.     There were numerous audit adjustments which impacted a significant number of accounts. Many of the adjustments related to the lack of year-end closing entries.

3.     Board meetings have not been held since October 2015 because the members' terms have expired. Board members are still involved with CIA's operation since the new members have not been appointed.

Management:

Alex Tretnoff, CEO/Pilot/Chief Mechanic and Mary Tretnoff, CFO

The 2016 financial audit for CIA was conducted by Deloitte & Touche under a contract awarded by the Office of the National Public Auditor. The deadline for this audit is June 30, 2017. The full copy of the audit report can be accessed on our office website at http://www.fsmopa.fm/.

Auditors look at how to improve communication with stakeholders

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) was in the Solomon Islands last week delivering a communications workshop for the Solomon Islands Office of the Auditor-General (SIOAG). The aim of the workshop was to assist the Office of the Auditor- General to develop a SAI Communications Strategy to effectively communicate with its stakeholders. The workshop also trained auditors on how to write clear, concise and simple audit reports that would enable audit findings to be communicated more effectively to Parliament, the Public Accounts Committee, audit entities, the media and the general public.

The four-day workshop commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 2017 with a total of 23 participants comprising of financial auditors, performance auditors and corporate services staff of the SIOAG. Mr Peter Lokay, Auditor-General of the Solomon Islands opened the workshop and welcomed the participants emphasizing, “Our corporate plan requires us to make a difference to our citizens. This workshop fits in well with our corporate plan. I hope that by the end of this workshop you will all be able to communicate and promote the value and benefit of our SAI.”

Participants learnt how to identify and analyse key stakeholders for their SAI and how towrite a communication strategy to effectively communicate the value and benefit of theirwork to make a difference in the Solomon Islands public service. The second half of the workshop was spent on learning how to write clear, concise and simple audit reports to communicate audit findings, as well as how to write media releases. Public speaking and using social media to communicate audit results was also covered. Participants stated, “The session helped a lot towards report writing” and “This training is useful and can help me improve my communication skills”.  The response from all the participants was very positive.

The workshop concluded on Friday, 9 June 2017 with closing remarks from Counsellor Karyn Murray of the Australian High Commission in Honiara, saying “We are always keen to support the Auditor-General’s office as you do a great job and a very important job here in the Solomon Islands.  Take note of what you have learnt this week and use it.”

This workshop is the third SAI specific communications training that PASAI has delivered over the last 12 months with the aim to improve report writing and stakeholder engagement for its members. The training was co-facilitated by PASAI’s Director of Advocacy, Engagement and Financing, Aolele Su’a Aloese and PASAI’s Communications Advisor, Tina Vaka. The training was hosted by the Solomon Islands Office of the Auditor-General and supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Photo: The staff of Solomon Islands Office of the Auditor-General who participated in the communications workshop.  Auditor-General, Mr Peter Lokay is seated in the middle of the front row.

Photo: The staff of Solomon Islands Office of the Auditor-General who participated in the communications workshop.  Auditor-General, Mr Peter Lokay is seated in the middle of the front row.

Photo: Participants engaged in learning activities in the communications workshop

Photo: Participants engaged in learning activities in the communications workshop

SAI Communicates, Citizens Assured - Nadi, Fiji

Auditor-Generals and Public Auditors (Heads of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI)) from around the Pacific attended the ‘Enhancing Effective Communication with Stakeholders’ in Nadi last week.

The three day workshop, held from 29 – 31 May, provided the Heads of SAI the opportunity to develop strategies to achieve greater audit impact through effective and efficient communication with public and private stakeholders, and within Pacific SAIs. Sessions on media, social media and public speaking provided valuable insights and ideas on communicating audit work and results through broader platforms.

Ihlen Joseph, the Public Auditor for Pohnpei State in the Federated States of Micronesia and PASAI Chairperson said, “This workshop has given us much to think about and implement in our SAIs to improve communicating our work.”

The Australian High Commission (Fiji) Pacific Regional Counsellor, Matthew Lapworth, in his opening address, said “Australia is pleased to support this workshop as good effective communication is crucial for SAIs in promoting good governance, accountability and transparency in the region.”

Hon. Dr. ‘Aisake Valu Eke, Member of Parliament for Tonga, and a key speaker at the workshop shared his reflection from the workshop stating, “I feel that this workshop was about changing from being a SAI of the past and becoming a SAI that is relevant for now and in the future. I am looking forward to the transition that will take place in our Pacific SAIs as a result of this workshop.” According to Tuvalu Auditor-General, Eli Lopati, “We have been encouraged, challenged and equipped to be better communicators as Heads of SAI.”

The insights gained from this workshop have prompted SAIs to commit to reviewing their communication policies in key areas. The actions on these commitments will be considered at the 20th PASAI Congress to be held in Funafuti, Tuvalu from 8 – 11 August 2017 with the theme “Promoting Values and Benefits of SAIs through Effective Communication”.

The workshop was hosted and facilitated by the PASAI Secretariat team, staff from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) and the Audit New Zealand.

Forty-seven participants and key speakers from twenty PASAI member countries, states, parliaments, regional and other organisations attended the workshop. Key speakers included Members of Parliament from Fiji and Tonga, the Permanent Secretary for Fiji Ministry of Public Enterprises, the Australian Commonwealth Ombudsman, Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO), Pacific Islands Association of Non-Government Organisations (PIANGO), and development partners. Also present was the CEO for Taimi Media Network and representatives from Capital Toastmasters Suva and Interactionz.

PASAI acknowledges the support of the Australian Government and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for making this workshop possible for all their member SAIs.

Photo: Pacific Auditors-General and Public Auditors and representatives from various stakeholders attended the regional workshop for heads of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) on enhancing effective communication with stakeholders, Nadi, Fiji. 

Photo: Pacific Auditors-General and Public Auditors and representatives from various stakeholders attended the regional workshop for heads of supreme audit institutions (SAIs) on enhancing effective communication with stakeholders, Nadi, Fiji. 

Nauru Department of Audit closes a 15 year audit gap

The Government of Nauru, especially the Nauru Department of Audit has reached a historical milestone because the Government of Nauru’s Public Accounts for 2013/2014 has been tabled during a Parliamentary session held yesterday 30 May 2017. This is the first time after a 15 year backlog. The Ministry of Finance has not been able to produce any public accounts or financial statements since 1998, therefore a huge part of the functions of the Nauru SAI could also not be carried out. The completion of this audit displays the professional and collaborative working relationship between the Ministry of Finance and Department of Audit, and proves that working together is all part of enhancing accountability and transparency and strengthening public financial management. 

Auditor-General of Nauru, Mr Manoharan is very appreciative to PASAI for the support provided to his office through the PASAI sub-regional audit support program and many other capacity building workshops that his staff have attended, including technical support from PASAI consultants. This support has helped build the capacity of his staff and enable his office to complete the first audit of 2013/2014 Governance on Nauru (GON) Public Accounts, particularly given that this is one of the smallest audit offices in the Pacific. 

However currently his staff numbers have been reduced to three audit staff consisting of two audit local staff and one GON contracted employee. They are currently auditing the 2014/2015 GON public accounts and soon the Ministry of Finance will issue the 2015/2016 GON public accounts. Once again the Nauru SAI will face the challenges of the lack of experienced and qualified staff. The lack of experienced and qualified staff has been the key challenge faced by the Auditor-General over the years. However, despite these challenges his office has managed to complete a number of compliance audits and issue reports to these ministries and an annual report to the Minister of Public Service, as per the Audit Act, and that is what he is also very proud of. 

PASAI has been monitoring and assessing closely these issues and challenges of Nauru SAI and have designed a regional programme, approved by the PASAI governing board, to be implemented in 2017 to not only achieve sustainability but ensure the Auditor General is supported throughout the year in completing the audit of GON Public Accounts and other audits as per its mandate. 

During the week of 22 May 2017, the PASAI Director of Technical Support visited Nauru to discuss this proposed regional programme and it was received positively by Mr Manoharan and his office. This regional programme involves providing pacific auditors from PASAI pacific SAIs as attachments for up to four months of the audit year, to assist in conducting audits, in particular 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 public accounts, in-house training and on the job mentoring and training. This approach will not only benefit and provide a workable solution for the Nauru SAI in terms of human resources, but it satisfies PASAI’s motto of “Pacific Auditors Working Together”. An expression of interest for these attachments will be advertised in June 2017 so that pacific auditors can provide this support as early as September 2017 for the next three years. 

PASAI congratulates the Auditor-General and his staff of the Nauru Department of Audit on achieving a huge milestone in the audit of the 2013/2014 Public Accounts thus closing a gap of a 15 year backlog and enhancing accountability and transparency in the use of public funds and resources by the government to benefit the lives of the people of Nauru. 

Auditor General of Department of Audit Nauru Mr Manoharan Nair holding the 2013/2014 Financial statements which includes his independent audit report, with his two audit staff Ms Gillian Itsimaera and Ms Valeni Natano

Auditor General of Department of Audit Nauru Mr Manoharan Nair holding the 2013/2014 Financial statements which includes his independent audit report, with his two audit staff Ms Gillian Itsimaera and Ms Valeni Natano

Two more Public Auditor’s Offices undergo performance measurement

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) continues its support for public auditors in the North Pacific, to enhance their capabilities through measuring their performance. The Government of Guam’s Office of Public Accountability (OPA) and the Federated States ofMicronesia (FSM) State of Yap’s Office of the Public Auditor (Yap OPA) were assessed concurrently by two separate review teams on 15-19 May 2017.

A peer review team consisting of Ms. Atmita Jonathan, Deputy Auditor-General and Ms. Ayako Yamaguchi-Eliou, Manager for Performance Audit both from the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) Auditor-General’s Office and Mrs. Sinaroseta Palamo-Iosefo, PASAI’s Director of Practice Development, assessed the performance of the Government of Guam’s OPA. Ms Yukari Hechanova, Deputy Public Auditor and Ms Rodalyn Gerardo, Special Assistant facilitated the support from the OPA for the peer review team.

The performance of Yap OPA was assessed by a peer review team led by Mr Stoney Taulung, Public Auditor for Kosrae State of FSM along with Ms Emma Balagot, Audit Manager and Ms Alice George, Senior Auditor both from the Office of the Kosrae Public Auditor, and Ms Claire Kelly, PASAI consultant. Yap OPA’s support for the assessment was co-ordinated by Ms Leelkan P Southwick, Chief Investigator, Mr Bryan Y Dabugsiy, Senior Auditor and Ms Emma L Gilyan, Administrative assistant.

Assessing the performance of public auditors helps them gauge the status of their internaldevelopment purposes and enables them to demonstrate their credibility with external stakeholders. This assessment was conducted using the INTOSAI’s SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF). The framework assesses a holistic performance of the SAI covering audit work, internal governance and ethics, relations with external stakeholders, and independence and legal framework. The peer review teams presented their preliminary assessment results to the respective PublicAuditors and staff at the completion of the week-long assessments.

As an elected government official, Ms. Doris Flores Brooks, Public Auditor for Guam, mentioned in her inaugural remarks earlier this year that she welcomed the assessment and is looking forward to the results to assist her Office in identifying areas of their operations that require improvement. During the assessment, she said she would publish the results of her Office’s performance assessment to demonstrate her commitment to strengthening accountability, transparency and integrity of government and public sector entities.

(l-r): Clariza Roque, Sina Palamo-Iosefo, Atmita Jonathan, Ayako Yamaguchi-Eliou, Yukari Hechanova, Doris Flores Brooks - Public Auditor and Rodalyn Gerardo.

(l-r): Clariza Roque, Sina Palamo-Iosefo, Atmita Jonathan, Ayako Yamaguchi-Eliou, Yukari Hechanova, Doris Flores Brooks - Public Auditor and Rodalyn Gerardo.

Mr Achilles Defngin, Yap Public Auditor expressed his appreciation of the assessment saying, “The Office is very grateful for the opportunity to have another similar North Pacific SAI carry out the assessment. Yap OPA wants the assessment to identify the Office’s strengths and weaknesses and highlight where we can improve”.

(Front row, left-right: Concepcion Arles - Audit Manager, Alice George, Claire Kelly, Emma Balagot; Middle row, left-right: Bryan Y Dabugsiy, Irene Laabrug - Senior Staff Auditor, Leelkan P Southwick, Achilles Defngin, Stoney Taulung; Back row, left-right: Jesse Foruw – Investigator, Emma Gilyan and Berlinda Bay – Staff Auditor)

(Front row, left-right: Concepcion Arles - Audit Manager, Alice George, Claire Kelly, Emma Balagot; Middle row, left-right: Bryan Y Dabugsiy, Irene Laabrug - Senior Staff Auditor, Leelkan P Southwick, Achilles Defngin, Stoney Taulung; Back row, left-right: Jesse Foruw – Investigator, Emma Gilyan and Berlinda Bay – Staff Auditor)

Guam OPA and Yap OPA are two of the six SAIs from the Northern Pacific who are participating in the second phase of the SAI PMF project in PASAI, a collaboration between the INTOSAI Development Initiatives (IDI), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and PASAI. This series of performance measurement will culminate with all six SAIs presenting and discussing their draft performance reports during a workshop to be held in the RMI in October 2017.

The implementation of SAI PMF is aligned with one of PASAI’s strategic goals, developing SAI’s performance measurement framework to assist with improving the delivery of SAI’s audit responsibilities in order to make a difference in the lives of citizens.

The two assessments were supported by the DFAT, IDI and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Supporting performance measurement of public auditors continues in the North Pacific

The second phase of a regional project supporting the measuring of performance of public auditors in the Pacific continues. During the week beginning 1st May 2017, the performance of the Kosrae Office of the Public Auditor (KOPA) was assessed by a peer review team consisting of auditors from the Pohnpei Office of the Public Auditor (POPA) and the Cook Islands Audit Office (CIAO). Members of the peer review team were Mr Allen Parker, Director of Audit, CIAO, Mr Iso Ihlen Joseph, Public Auditor Pohnpei State, Ms Elaine Carl, Administrative Officer, POPA and Ms Alice Etse, Audit Manager, POPA.

The week long assessment was conducted using the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF), a global framework that enables SAIs to assess their performance against International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) and other established international good practices for external public auditing. This assessment is part of a regional project, “Supporting SAI Performance Measurement in PASAI” – a collaboration between the INTOSAI Development Initiatives (IDI), PASAI and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).

Mr Stoney Taulung, the Public Auditor of Kosrae and his staff, expressed their appreciation of the assessment and gratitude for the review. In particular he mentioned that the framework can be used to contribute to improved SAI capacity development through promoting the use of performance measurement and management, as well as identifying opportunities to strengthen and monitor SAI performance and accountability. Furthermore, the KOPA Audit Manager, Ms. Emma Balagot and KOPA staff also acknowledged the importance of the assessment and their acceptance of the preliminary findings as constructive feedback on areas where the SAI requires improvement.

All six SAIs from the Northern Pacific who are participating in the second phase of this project willbe presenting and discussing their draft reports during the reporting workshop to be held in the Marshall Islands in October 2017.

The implementation of SAI PMF is aligned with one of PASAI’s strategic goals, developing SAI’s performance measurement framework to assist with improving the delivery of SAI’s audit responsibilities in order to make a difference in the lives of citizens.

This assessment is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), INTOSAI Development Initiatives (IDI) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Effective Accountability through the strengthened Kiribati Audit Bill 2017 – Stakeholders workshops, Tarawa, Kiribati, 8 and 9 May, 2017.

Kiribati officials of government ministries and State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) attended two alternate workshops on ‘Effective Accountability through the strengthened Kiribati Audit Bill 2017 for audit entities’, held on the 8th and 9th May, 2017 at the USP Campus, Tarawa, Kiribati. “Greater knowledge and better understanding by audit entities of the citizens’ mandate, tendered through the new Kiribati Audit Bill 2017 for the Audit Office, is a catalyst for enhanced public service delivery, stronger stakeholder engagement, and effective public accountability and transparency in Kiribati” said Mrs. Matereta Raiman, Auditor-General of Kiribati, in her address to the workshop participants. The workshops were jointly conducted by the Kiribati National Audit Office (KNAO) and the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI).

Nineteen staff from seven government ministries and twenty-four officials from various State-owned Enterprises attended these workshops on alternate days. The core content of the workshops was on the Kiribati Audit Bill in which staff from KNAO, led by the Auditor- General, presented and explained the main parts of the bill, which will be enforced once it is passed by Parliament in their next sitting. Interactive discussions were made by participants seeking better understanding and clarification on particular aspects of the bill. In particular, the implications of the various sections. The KNAO provided practical illustrations on how those sections would apply for their respective type of entities.

In addition, PASAI Chief Executive, Mr. Tiofilusi Tiueti provided an overview of PASAIand the state of accountability and transparency in the Pacific region, and emphasised the value and benefits of Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in making a difference to the lives of citizens.

Mr. Tauaasa Taafaki, Aid Manager and Deputy Head of Mission for the New Zealand High Commission in Kiribati, during his opening speech left an inspiring challenge for participants to think carefully about these foreign concepts such as transparency, accountability, good governance, independence of the Auditor-General, strengthening public sector efficiency and effectiveness and value for money, to benefit our people and our citizens. He said, ”…we find ways to reduce or remove the tensions that exist between our traditional customs and our culture and these foreign concepts so that we can improve the quality of life for our people”. A valid challenge in reminding public sector officials on their duties of delivering quality public service.

The workshops were funded by the Government of Kiribati through KNAO, and also the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade through PASAI.

Photo above: Staff from government ministries participated in the workshop on Monday, 8 May 2017

Photo above: Staff from government ministries participated in the workshop on Monday, 8 May 2017

Photo above: Officials from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) participated in the workshop on Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Photo above: Officials from state-owned enterprises (SOEs) participated in the workshop on Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Measuring performance of public auditors in the Pacific

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institution (PASAI) continues its support in measuring the performance of public auditors in the North Pacific. The performance of the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG) of the Republic of Marshall Islands (RMI) was assessed on 28th April to 5th May 2017 by a peer review team comprising of Mr. Haser Hainrick, Public Auditor, Mr. Kelly Samuel, Chief of Investigation, and Mr. Keller Phillip, Senior Auditor from the Office of the Federated States of Micronesia National Public Auditor (ONPA) and Mr. Kelepi Makakaufaki Jr, Deputy Auditor General from the Tonga Office of the Auditor-General (TOAG).

The review was conducted using the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF), a global framework that enables SAIs to assess their performance against International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) and other established international good practices for external public auditing.

This assessment was carried out as part of a regional project – “Supporting SAI performance measurement in PASAI” administered by PASAI in collaboration with the INTOSAI Development Initiatives. It is the second of six assessments conducted in Phase II of this project.

Assessment team in action: (l to r): Haser Hainrick, Kelly Samuel, Kelepi Makakaufaki Jr, Keller Philip

Assessment team in action: (l to r): Haser Hainrick, Kelly Samuel, Kelepi Makakaufaki Jr, Keller Philip

The Auditor-General, Mr. Junior Patrick expressed his appreciation of the assessment. “We are happy that RMI OAG is being reviewed under the measurement tool (SAI PMF) adopted by the global organization of public auditors – INTOSAI, to assess and monitor performance of audit organizations. As an audit organization, we always tell our audit clients that the most important outcome of any audit or review is the correction of past deficiencies and that implementation of our audit recommendation is a step in that direction.  In the same respect, we look forward to the outcome of the review by our peers to identify opportunities to strengthen performance on both the audit domain and other operational aspects of our Office,” says Mr. Patrick.

In addition to conducting the assessment, the assessment team had the opportunity to experience the RMI’s Constitutional Day celebration on 1st May 2017. They participated in the parade of all government offices and entities, schools, private businesses and community members. Furthermore they enjoyed the local food, crafts and brilliant fireworks entertainment. 

The review team expects to complete and finalize the assessment report before the reporting meeting which will be held in RMI in October this year, to round up the series of assessments conducted for SAIs in the North Pacific.

This assessment is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), INTOSAI Development Initiatives (IDI) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Assessment team with Auditor-General, Junior Patrick (second from right) and RMI OAG staff, Atmita Jonathan (front left) and Ayako Yamaguchi-Eliou (right)

Assessment team with Auditor-General, Junior Patrick (second from right) and RMI OAG staff, Atmita Jonathan (front left) and Ayako Yamaguchi-Eliou (right)

Kiribati Public Accounts Committee and Members of Parliament workshop

The Kiribati National Audit Office in partnership with the Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) delivered a workshop to enhance good governance, transparency and accountability in the island state. The workshop also covered an introduction to the new Audit Bill to strengthen financial oversight and external scrutiny. It was held at the Kiribati Parliament Complex on 7 April 2017 and attended by 38 participants including the President, HisExcellency Taneti Maamau, Cabinet Ministers, Members of Parliament, the Clerk, Attorney-General and the Legal Draftsman.

The Speaker of Parliament, Honorable Tebuai Uaai, in opening the workshop, emphasised the important role legislators play in the scrutiny of the audited reports and financial oversight of the use and management of public resources. He added that as legislators they need auditors to provide them with assurance on the economy and effective use of public resources. Therefore promoting ethical behaviour and good governance starts with supporting the SAI.

The Auditor-General of Kiribati, Mrs Matereta Raiman and PASAI Advocate, Mr Eroni Vatuloka, conducted the workshop. The participants discussed the various clauses of the new Audit Bill especially the creation of an Audit Board and the inclusion of performance and IT audits with the other current functions of the Auditor-General. His Excellency the New Zealand High Commissioner in Kiribati Michael Upton in his closing address, re-assured that while the Audit Board will provide guidance and support to the Auditor-General, the Audit Bill specifically provides that the arrangement will not interfere with the Auditor-General’s independence. Furthermore, His Excellency Taneti Maamau thanked PASAI and the Kiribati National Audit Office for co-ordinating such a useful workshop to raise the capacity of the Members of Parliament on the Audit Bill and understanding the importance of good governance, transparency and accountability in the process of Parliament.

This programme comes under Strategic Priority 2, Advocacy for governance, accountability and transparency of PASAI’s long-term strategic plan. PASAI acknowledges the valued supportfrom the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT).

Transforming public auditors to lead change for a better Pacific

 

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) hosted a SAI young leaders’ symposium in Auckland, New Zealand on 4-7 April 2017. Eighteen staff from American Samoa, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Office of the National Public Auditor, Fiji, Guam, Kosrae State of FSM, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Pohnpei State of FSM, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Yap State of FSM attended the symposium. Representatives from the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) as well as AuditNew Zealand also took part and shared their leadership development programmes and leadership capability framework.

The main objective of the symposium was to explore and identify the challenges faced by SAIs in developing leadership and to inform the PASAI Secretariat on the design and development of a regional leadership programme. Strengthening leaders at all levels within the SAI will contribute to the overall impact of SAIs in the conduct of their audits to ‘Make a difference to the lives of citizens’.

The symposium involved extensive discussions on SAI leaders’ responsibility to deliver value and benefits to make a difference in the lives of citizens through consistently performing high-quality audits and delivering other services. Different approaches to developing leadership were presented from an individual organisation’s perspective by ANAO and Audit NZ. Ms Ingela Ekblom, Senior Advisor in Leadership, Human Resources and Communication at the International Department of the Swedish National Audit Office (SNAO) discussed and shared her experiences in developing the Executive Leadership Development Programme (ELDP) for AFROSAI-E, the organisation for English-speaking African Supreme Audit Institutions.

Other elements of a leadership programme such as a competency framework and the design of the programme were discussed in view of the challenges identified. The diverse nature of challenges identified from this forum will make designing and developing a regional programme a challenging task and possibly a costly investment.

Mr Nigel Ewels, the Development Manager of Pacific and Development Group, part of New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) Pacific team in Auckland, opened the symposium. In his opening remarks, Mr Ewels reiterated the critical role that public auditors play in ensuring that governments are spending public money responsibly and effectively.

The facilitation team included Ms Ingela Ekblom, Mr Henry McGregor, Consultant from South Africa, Mrs Sinaroseta Palamo-Iosefo PASAI’s Director of Practice Development, and two young SAI leaders,  whorepresentedPacificSAIsintheINTOSAIDevelopmentInitiative(IDI)       Global

Leadership Symposium held in India, Ms Clariza Mae Roque and Grace Mulitalo from SAI Guam and Samoa respectively.

This programme is aligned with PASAI’s strategic goal requiring the development of staff of SAIs to take on leadership responsibilities.

This workshop was supported by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Swedish National Audit Office.

The workshop participants and facilitators

The workshop participants and facilitators