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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

Tuvalu leads the way in strengthening SAI independence and the role of Public Accounts Committee

The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) in partnership with the Office of the Auditor-General of Tuvalu, delivered a four-day workshop involving Public Accounts Committee (PAC) members, Parliamentarians, audit entities and other stakeholders, in Tuvalu from the 3 – 8 March 2017. The workshop was aimed at strengthening the financial oversight and external scrutiny roles of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), and the role all other stakeholders play in upholding public accountability and transparency in Tuvalu.

On day 1, Friday 3rd March, 2017, representatives from seven audit entities attended and discussed relevant audit issues including the need to form an Institute of Accountants for Tuvalu, the quality assurance process over the completion of audits, and the independence and the composition of the Public Accounts Committee during the workshop. These audit entities were the Tuvalu Electricity Corporation, Tuvalu National Provident Fund, Tuvalu Development Bank, Tuvalu Maritime Institute, Telecom Corporation, Tuvalu Broadcasting Corporation and the National Bank of Tuvalu.

The workshop continued on Monday and Tuesday 6th and 7th March 2017, for members of parliament in which eleven of the 15 members of Parliament of Tuvalu, including the Honourable Prime Minister, Hon. Enele Sopoaga, and cabinet members attended. The Honourable Prime Minister stressed the importance of the value PASAI can contribute to the work of the Pacific Forum through its work in the Region. During the sessions, the members held discussions, among other issues, on the proposed Tuvalu Public Accounts and Budget Committee Bill currently before the Speaker which enhances the role of the PAC and its ability to provide effective financial oversight and external scrutiny on the reports of the Audit Office and all government entities.

In December 2016, Tuvalu Parliament passed the new Audit Act 2016, which enhances the independence of the Office of the Auditor-General and includes a provision on financialindependence for the Office, the first country in the South Pacific (excluding Australia and New Zealand) to achieve this.

The Honourable Speaker, Hon. Otinielu Tauteleimalae Tausi, closed the session for Parliamentarians on Tuesday, 7th March 2017, by thanking the PASAI facilitators for a very short, but very important exercise. “While we as Parliamentarians are not auditors, it was good to be reminded of the importance of having checks and balances in place, and for Members of Parliament to always keep the principles of accountability and transparency in mind when undertaking their duties”. The four day programme concludes with a final session for all other stakeholders including media organisations, civil societies, non-government organisations and permanent secretaries on Wednesday, 8th March 2017.

This is the seventh workshop PASAI has delivered in the Region with the aim to build the capacity of the Members of Parliament who are also Members of the Public Accounts Committee to better understand their role in providing financial oversight of public expenditure.

The workshop was co-presented by the PASAI Advocacy Team, Mr Eroni Vatuloka, PASAI Advocate, Ms Aolele Su’a Aloese, Director of Advocacy, Engagement and Financing, the Auditor-General of Tuvalu, Mr Eli Lopati, and the Tuvalu Director of Planning, Budget and Aid Co-ordination, Mr Niuatui Niuatui, who presented on the Tuvalu national budget processes.

This programme comes under Strategic Priority 2 - Advocacy for governance, accountability and transparency of PASAI’s long-term strategic plan. PASAI appreciates the assistance provided by the Auditor-General of Tuvalu and his staff, and also acknowledges the valued support from the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Photo Above : Members of Parliament including Public Accounts Committee Members and workshop facilitators from PASAI and Tuvalu Office of the Auditor-General.

Photo Above : Members of Parliament including Public Accounts Committee Members and workshop facilitators from PASAI and Tuvalu Office of the Auditor-General.

Photo above: Participants to the workshop from Audit Entities represented mainly by Chair of Board of Directors of State Owned Enterprises and Accounting Staff of Public Bodies of Tuvalu

Photo above: Participants to the workshop from Audit Entities represented mainly by Chair of Board of Directors of State Owned Enterprises and Accounting Staff of Public Bodies of Tuvalu

Photo above: Auditor-General of Tuvalu, Mr Eli Lopati, addressing the participants from audit entities

Photo above: Auditor-General of Tuvalu, Mr Eli Lopati, addressing the participants from audit entities

The INTOSAI Journal Special INCOSAI Edition


The special INCOSAI edition of the International Journal of Government Auditing is now available online at www.intosaijournal.org.

You can also download the Journal here!

This issue is dedicated to INCOSAI XXII in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, and we ask you to follow us on INTOSAI’s journey to success!

Inside you will find features on the INTOSAI Strategic Plan 2017-2022, as well as Achieving Global Sustainability and Professionalization.

Additional highlights include articles on how working together can help cultivate success, such as the multi-lateral exchange of knowledge and ideas that led to the endorsement and approval of the Working Group on Big Data.

Throughout this edition of the Journal, you will find tons of photos along with inspirational quotes and video interviews on what success for INTOSAI looks like to some of our delegates.

In addition to the Journal’s website, you can find audit community news and images through our Facebook postings www.facebook.com/intosaijournal, Twitter feed www.twitter.com/@INTOSAIJournal and Instagram photos www.instagram.com/intosaijournal.

Haiying Jiang, Director-General of International Cooperation of the National Audit Office of China: Learn and Progress with Friends

Haiying Jiang, Director-General of International Cooperation of the National Audit Office of China

Haiying Jiang, Director-General of International Cooperation of the National Audit Office of China

China’s first Auditor-General, Mr Yu Mingtao, is turning 100 years old in 2017. He was appointed Auditor-General in 1983 when the National Audit Office of China was established. In a recently published book, he recalled the early days when he, as the new Auditor General heading a new SAI, found the biggest challenge being that “there was no professional capacity to rely on, no working experience to borrow from and no ready laws or regulations to follow, not even theoretical books about auditing was to be found.” Starting from scratch, the National Audit Office of China on the one hand, actively explored ways of audit based on Chinese reality; and on the other hand, intensified international exchanges with foreign SAIs to introduce useful experiences to China. Mr Yu said: -“Experiences of various countries are valuable for us to learn”.

As a matter of fact, even before the SAI was established, China started to learn from SAIs in other countries. In September 1981, Mr Servando Fernandez-Victorio y Camps, then President of Tribunal de Cuentas del Reino of Spain, visited China. As the first head of a SAI visiting China, he talked to a Chinese audience on government auditing, a session the audience described as enlightening. The National Audit Office of China was formally established in September 1983 and joined INTOSAI in the same year, then ASOSAI in the following year. After joining these international organizations, exchanges with foreign SAIs were widely conducted on the platform of international auditing organizations and on a bilateral level. Through these exchanges, Chinese auditors broadened their views, learned and benefited greatly from good practices of other SAIs. Many SAIs provided support and assistance in capacity building to SAI China in this period, such as the SAIs of Spain, Canada, Germany, Australia, Sweden, France, UK, the Netherlands, India, Pakistan, Malaysia and Indonesia, to name just some of them. Chinese auditors were sent to study audit practices in foreign SAIs and audit experts from these SAIs were invited to China to train Chinese auditors.

The former Auditor-General of Australia Mr Ian McPhee, once visited China in the 1980s, as a trainer for an audit training programme. When he visited China again in 2011 as Auditor-General of Australia, he brought with him photos of the training programme participants, taken in China. Some of the participants, still working with CNAO, could confirm what an important learning experience this programme had been for them and how they had used the techniques they learned, in their audit projects and therewith achieved better results. With this valuable support and help, the National Audit Office of China made fast progress in government auditing. And the learning helped greatly, not only the National Audit Office of China, but also Chinese local audit institutions. Mr Liu Jiayi, Auditor-General of China, believes that audit theory and practice in China is open and inclusive, and has achieved development by drawing on the experiences and practices of auditing of other countries.

In the National Audit Office of China, we never forgot the assistance we received from other SAIs. At seminars on audit practices, in seminar papers, in books about auditing, authors and auditors, and even past Auditor-General like Mr Yu, mention from time to time, how much we benefited by learning from other SAIs. Successful technical assistance projects with SAIs of Spain and Germany were told by older generation of auditors to the younger generation auditors at their induction training programme in the Office. The National Audit Office of China knows well the value of helping each other and the importance of being open and sharing ideas with others in developing audit practices.

As an ancient Chinese poem says: “We get what we need from others, we should also give what we have to others in need”.

We are very happy to share our good practices with other SAIs. Now the National Audit Office of China maintains friendly exchanges with many SAIs worldwide. CNAO has helped train auditors at the request of some SAIs, including seminars, workshops and training programmes. Initiated by the Auditor-General, the National Audit Office of China also cooperated with the Nanjing Audit University to operate a Master Programme for international auditors to study in China under a Chinese Government scholarship. There has been increasing attention on Chinese audit practices such as IT auditing, accountability auditing, real time auditing, public works auditing and environmental auditing et al. Delivering presentations at seminars or attending discussions with auditors from other SAIs, Chinese auditors have learned a lot from other auditors. As the Head of International Relations, I am often told by my colleagues how they have enjoyed attending and lecturing international training programmes, because interactions with the participants is also a good learning experience for the trainers. The truth is that learning is never one way, the more you share with others, the more you learn.

Over 2000 years ago, a Chinese scholar once said: -“Learning alone without any friends, one is cut off from the world and knows little”.

George Bernard Shaw said something similar “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you exchange ideas, then each of us will have two ideas”. This is exactly how we should learn, learn by sharing with friends and peers, learn by exchanging ideas. The audit community knows this better than many others, for what INTOSAI promotes exactly, is - “Mutual Experience benefits all”. 

Achieving Impact and Reinforcing Accountability – Sierra Leone's Perspective

Achievements At A Glance

  • Successful capacity development in a post-conflict environment
  • Improved transparency through unprecedented publication of audit reports, and PAC hearing broadcasts
  • Improved accountability for use of public funds through 21% increase in audit coverage
  • Real-time audit of Ebola funds strengthened accountability and financial management
  • National Integrity Award for stance against corruption
  • Demonstrating SAI improvements, through repeat performance assessments

The Challenge

The Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) became an operational independent organization in 2004. In a country context marked by a post-conflict legacy, high youth unemployment, poverty, corruption, weak governance structures and fragile legal environment following the end of the civil war in 2002, Sierra Leone is considered to be among the 10 poorest countries in the world according to the 2015 United Nations Human Development Index.

ASSL faced internal challenges early on. The lack of a strategic plan and audit manuals; low audit coverage; limited human and financial resources, as well as little to no information technology facilities and infrastructure were just some of the obstacles they encountered.

Externally, audited public institutions were without basic systems and documentation, which hampered ASSL´s ability to perform audits.

Parliament was not reviewing audit reports. In fact, audit reports were not published nor were audit recommendations considered. The SAI’s role within the Public Financial Management (PFM) system was weak, particularly given the lack of tools designed to provide oversight regarding the effective utilization of public monies.

The Response

Once fully operational, ASSL immediately embarked on comprehensive capacity development programs led by the United Kingdom Department of International Development (DFID). The goal: strengthen ASSL’s institutional and professional capacity and fulfill its mandate within demanding national limitations.

As of 2016, ASSL’s picture has drastically improved in part as a result of the following activities which are aligned with the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation principles:

  • Strong SAI Leadership. This has distinguished the organization with country stakeholders, as well as development partners, leading to high levels of SAI ownership when planning capacity development.
  • Long term and scaled-up support. DFID has backed ASSL through organizational, institutional and professional capacity development technical assistance. DFID’s leading role has evolved over the years into a facilitative one, where it now supports ASSL-led initiatives in developing guidance and capacity in financial, compliance and performance audits. ASSL has also benefited from support provided by other development partners, including the African Development Bank; the European Commission; and the World Bank, all of which have harmonized efforts in accordance to ASSL’s strategic plans and core programs.
  • SAI participation at the international arena. ASSL has been capitalizing on INTOSAI global public goods and regional capacity development programs by AFROSAI-E region and IDI.
  • ASSL underwent two assessments under the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (PMF), one in 2012 and one more recently in 2016, producing evidence-based measurements over a period of time that continue to identify areas for improvement.
  • ASSL will also receive support from the SAI Capacity Development Fund (CDF) financed by SECO (Switzerland) and administrated by the World Bank, towards strengthening professional capacity.
  • Public Financial Management (PFM) Reforms. PFM reforms have promoted timely and regularly published reports by the Auditor General. The “2014- 2017 PFM Strategy of Sierra Leone” incorporates ASSL observations.

The Results

Comparing ASSL´s performance in 2002 to 2016 shows tremendous improvements attributed to various capacity development activities.

  • ASSL has implemented sound strategies and policies addressing core audit processes and organizational structures including strategic planning, professional training and stakeholder management, leading to the delivery of significant results despite limited human and financial resources.
  • Repeated PEFA assessments indicate the scope, nature and follow-up of external audit has consistently improved since 2007, including a 21% expansion in audit coverage; enhanced quality of financial and compliance audit work; and the establishment of performance audit as an audit area.
  • Strengthened ASSL-Public Accounts Committee (PAC) relationships have led to improved parliamentary scrutiny of audit reports; public access to ASSL´s reports; and publicly broadcast PAC hearings.
  • Budget support development partners extensively use ASSL’s outputs to monitor fiduciary risk and incorporate into dialogue with Sierra Leone’s government.
  • ASSL’s impact includes the office’s prompt audit on the 2015 Management of Ebola Resources. The report on mismanagement and corruption in the use of Ebola aid funds allowed for strong debates among stakeholders and resulted in increased pressure for accountability.
  • In 2015, the Auditor General was awarded with the National Integrity Award by the Anti-Corruption Commission for her distinguished service in the protection of the national resources and strong stance against corruption.

ASSL must remain steadfast in its efforts to combat obstacles and achieve a positive impact on accountability, good governance, and transparency. ASSL continues to develop. According to the 2014 PEFA assessment, ASSL needs to remain focused on increasing audit scope, further cultivating specialized audit areas and ensuring that its reports are being acted upon. PAC follow-up on recommendations is still a challenge.

We have embraced the sustained support given by our development partners and harmonization development programs with our strategic plans. We hope the intense development assistance to ASSL can continue until we reach a level of matureness where we can make an impact based on our own sustainable capabilities.–Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce, Sierra Leone Auditor General

 

The story in other languages:


The Intosai-donor Cooperation

The INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation is a strategic partnership between donors and the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) community.

Purpose: to improve SAI performance in developing countries through scaled-up and more effective support.

Guiding Principles: development of country-led strategic plans; donors respecting SAI country leadership; and improved coordination of support.

Members: To date, 23 donor organizations and INTOSAI

(who comprise the INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee) have signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

For more information, visit us online at www.idi.no/en/intosai-donor-cooperation.

SAI Bhutan Responding to Emerging Challenges

Achievements At A Glance

  • Enhanced SAI credibility and audit quality through applying international standards
  • Audit report on public debt management debated in Parliament:
    • Public debt policy and debt-thresholds established
    • New Finance Department to ensure public debt levels remain sustainable
  • Leading by example in accountability, through publishing assessment of its own performance
  • New strategic plan to further enhance public confidence in the SAI

The Challenge

For roughly 45 years, Bhutan has been on the United Nation’s list of least developed countries that face severe long-term structural impediments to growth. The country was established as a democratic constitutional monarchy in 2008. While the country has experienced some advancement, challenges remain namely from risks associated with:

  • High external public debt
  • Projected large hydropower-related revenues

The Royal Audit Authority of Bhutan (RAA) was established as an autonomous public audit body in 1985. With a broad mandate and strong legal framework for enforcing audit recommendations, the RAA is also backed by the nation’s constitution that stresses the entity’s importance in conducting performance audits.

Yet, despite these significant advantages, recent performance assessments show that the RAA still experiences difficulty in conducting audits that meet quality standards expected from the international audit community and making a difference to the lives of citizens.

The Response

The RAA has initiated several development programs in an effort to address the challenges. Upon adopting the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) framework in 2010 when it was approved at INCOSAI, the RAA has received support through several mechanisms developed by the INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation:

  • Global Stocktaking. The 2010 Global Stocktaking of needs and support provided to the SAI Community resulted in the World Bank’s funding of the 3i Program, where RAA completed Phase 1 in December 2014. The program, implemented by the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) aims to support SAIs in ISSAI implementation. As part of the 3i Program, the RAA carried out ISSAI Compliance Assessments (iCATs) to identify gaps, as well as raise awareness of ISSAI requirements.
  • Global Call for Proposals. Following the Global Call for Proposals in 2011, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) backed the RAA’s project proposal designed to enhance professionalism in the delivery of audit services. As part of this project, to be operational from 2012-2017, several audit manuals and policies have been developed, among them a policy document on auditing from a gender perspective.
  • SAI PMF Assessment. The Office of the Auditor General of Norway and the INTOSAI-Donor Secretariat conducted a peer review in 2014 using the pilot SAI Performance Measurement Framework (PMF). Afterwards the final report was published.
  • SAI Capacity Development Fund (SAI CDF). The RAA has support from the SAI CDF, financed by SECO (Switzerland) and administered by the World Bank to further enhance ISSAI implementation, focusing on improving audit quality in all audit streams.

The Results

In 2013, the RAA, with support from ADA, conducted three pilot audits following the new ISSAI framework. According to the SAI PMF assessment, the pilot audits scored significantly higher than other reviewed audits, providing evidence of the program’s success and RAA’s performance improvement. The SAI PMF assessment also provided input toward the RAA’s new strategic plan for 2015 - 2020, which was finalized and published in 2016

The impacts associated with professionalizing audits has extended beyond the SAI, particularly in the realm of public debt, which is a key national challenge. The RAA participated in the IDI public debt auditing program funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The RAA’s audit report on public debt management, completed in 2014, was debated extensively in the Parliament of Bhutan and received positive feedback by the Ministry of Finance (MOF).

External support has been instrumental in enhancing the institutional capacity of our audit office.–Dasho Tshering Kezang, Auditor General of Bhutan

Based on the audit recommendations, the MOF developed a Public Debt Policy that was put into effect August 18, 2016, and provides both a single overall threshold, as well as sector-specific thresholds for external debt. This new policy specifies total external debt should not exceed 25% of total goods and services exports.

Shortly after the policy’s implementation, the MOF established a new department of Macroeconomic Affairs, whose mission is to "maintain a sustainable level of public debt".

Bhutan’s Auditor General has emphasized the importance of internal ownership to development projects. As a result, the activities are primarily carried out by internal staff, ensuring RAA project ownership and product usefulness. External support has also been aligned behind RAAs strategic plan.

All of these factors have contributed to the positive results in Bhutan.

Implementation of ISSAIs is a long term endeavor, and the RAA recognizes more work is needed to ensure audits are performed coherently across the organization and to make the changes sustainable. The RAA has, therefore, included ISSAI-implementation as one of the goals in its Strategic Plan for 2015-20.

The story in other languages:


The Intosai-donor Cooperation

The INTOSAI-Donor Cooperation is a strategic partnership between donors and the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) community.

Purpose: to improve SAI performance in developing countries through scaled-up and more effective support.

Guiding Principles: development of country-led strategic plans; donors respecting SAI country leadership; and improved coordination of support.

Members: To date, 23 donor organizations and INTOSAI

(who comprise the INTOSAI-Donor Steering Committee) have signed the Memorandum of Understanding.

For more information, visit us online at www.idi.no/en/intosai-donor-cooperation.

PASAI Governing Board Meets in Auckland, NZ

The PASAI Governing Board held their 16th meeting in Auckland, NZ from 23 – 24 February, 2017 as part of their commitment to providing strategic direction, governance and leadership to the work of PASAI in the Pacific Region. Among the main issues that they deliberated on during the meeting were PASAI’s Operational Plan 2017/18 – 2012/22 and related budget, and PASAI’s funding strategy. Important discussions were held with PASAI’s two main donors the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on continuous support for PASAI. The Board also commended the work undertaken in implementing PASAI’s strategic plan in response to SAI members needs. There was also valuable contributions to the meeting from PASAI’s developing partners, DFAT, MFAT, World Bank and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). 

“The Board Meeting was a success with some fruitful contributions by members in ensuring that proposed programmes are in line with the objectives of PASAI, affordable, clear expected outcomes and with realistic targets,” said Mr Ihlen Joseph, Chairman of the Board and Public Auditor of Pohnpei State, Federated States of Micronesia. 

Details of PASAI Board members and past Board Meetings are found HERE.

The incoming Congress Chairperson, Auditor-General of Tuvalu, Mr Eli Lopati also advised the Governing Board of the theme for this year’s PASAI Congress being “Promoting Value and Benefits of SAIs through Effective Communication.” He assured the Governing Board that his office is ready to welcome everyone to his island for the 20th PASAI Congress in August, 2017. 

PASAI would like to acknowledge DFAT and MFAT, World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) and PIFS for their continued support of PASAI and its work in the region. 

Photo above: The PASAI Governing Board members. 

Photo above: The PASAI Governing Board members. 

Photo above: PASAI Governing Board members with Development Partners and PASAI Secretariat staff. 

Photo above: PASAI Governing Board members with Development Partners and PASAI Secretariat staff. 

Practical Advice for Auditors of Foreign Aid Projects in the Pacific

PASAI completed its first pilot of conducting a co-operative financial audit for the region and selected the topic of foreign aid projects. Six SAIs from Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Tonga, Tuvalu and Samoa participated with the support of INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI). This pilot programme resulted in multiple observations and lessons learned which forms the basis of this regional report. The report also includes practical advice to assist SAIs in the conduct of financial audits of foreign aid projects in the future. It is expected that both SAIs and development partners in the Pacific region may learn valuable lessons from individual SAI reports as well as from this regional report to improve and enhance the quality of the audits of funds provided by foreign aid.

The current PASAI Chairperson, Public Auditor of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) State of Pohnpei office Mr Iso Ihlen Joseph summed up the importance of this topic in his foreword to this report “With a worldwide focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there is an ever-increasing quantity of aid flowing into developing countries relating to SDGs. This requires governments to be even more responsible for the transparent and accountable use of funds provided by foreign aid, whether it is for SDG implementation or government projects. In the Pacific this can be even more challenging and highlights the need for a strong country financial system to manage these aid funds honestly and fairly, to ensure they are meeting the needs of the targeted government projects.”

The official launch of this regional report was held in Auckland, New Zealand at the Grand Millennium Hotel on 23 February, 2017, during PASAI’s 16th Governing Board meeting which was attended by the Governing board members, PASAI’s INTOSAI representative and development partners from Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the World Bank and Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat. All delegates were presented with a copy of this report and it will also be published on PASAI’s website (www.pasai.org) from Tuesday 28 February, 2017.

PASAI promotes transparent, accountable, effective, and efficient use of public sector resources in the Pacific. It contributes to helping its member SAIs improve the quality of public sector auditing in the Pacific to uniformly high standards and assists governments to develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels which aligns with Goal 16 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PASAI acknowledges the financial support of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and the collaborative ongoing joint regional partnership with IDI.

Photo: PASAI Advocate, Mr Eroni Vatuloka handing a copy of the regional report to the PASAI Chairperson, Mr Iso Ihlen Joseph at the launch. 

Photo: PASAI Advocate, Mr Eroni Vatuloka handing a copy of the regional report to the PASAI Chairperson, Mr Iso Ihlen Joseph at the launch. 

Back at number one and it’s personal

“Putting people first in maintaining integrity” was a theme in Lyn Provost’s last speech as Auditor-General at the fifth Transparency International Leaders Integrity Forum last week.

This point was echoed by the Brian Picot Chair in Ethical Leadership at Victoria University, Professor Karin Lasthuizen.

New Zealand has worked hard to have a public sector with high integrity, which has been reflected in our ranking on Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index for a long time. We are usually ranked either first or first equal in the world, but we slipped to second and fourth in 2014 and 2015.

It’s certainly good to be back at number one (at least, first-equal with Denmark) on the 2016 index. But we are not complacent.

In 2012, our Office’s work on fraud helped lead to an increase in awareness and action. Now all of us in the public sector have an opportunity to raise awareness and understanding of bribery and corruption.

Lyn told the Integrity Forum that the second word in “Corruption Perceptions Index” matters as much as the first. She has seen an increase in accusations of corruption during her term as Auditor-General, even though the Office’s inquiries have not upheld those accusations.

The increasing perception of corruption should be of concern to us all, Lyn said.

“Without transparency, allegations of corruption will flourish. Without transparency, people wonder what their politicians and officials are trying to hide. We can hardly blame them.”

As public sector auditors, we meet thousands of public servants committed to improving the lives of New Zealanders. They’re doing a great job, but our reputation is a fragile thing. There is plenty that can go wrong. Public entities can get too focused on avoiding risk, ticking boxes, following processes, and managing throughputs. Of course we need systems, but what comes first in maintaining integrity is concern about people.

Karin’s presentation on research in ethical leadership reinforced Lyn’s emphasis on concern for people. She told the forum that ethical leadership and explicit communication about ethics is particularly important for combatting unethical behaviour. Communication about ethical values and norms, and open discussion about ethical dilemmas, helps reduce perceptions of favouritism inside an organisation, and discrimination outside of it.

The Kiwis Count Survey run by the State Services Commission shows that New Zealanders' trust in public services by experience is consistently much higher than their perception of trust. By both measures, trust has increased markedly since 2007. It shows that their trust is closely linked to their personal contact with the public sector.

In her last address as Auditor-General to the public sector, those at the Forum might have expected a discussion of accounting and financial management challenges and of the systems that could be improved. But Lyn showed the forum the trait that has made her distinctive as an Auditor-General – her willingness to talk about the issues that matter for people.

She challenged the public sector to focus on, and find ways to improve, five issues that trouble us all and blight so many of our lives: and that undermine our integrity:

  1. Suicide – the third leading cause of premature death in New Zealand. Every suicide is a tragedy. Our Office has tried to contribute to this complex problem by looking at how information is collected and used to prevent future suicides.
  2. Mental health – in our Office, as in communities throughout New Zealand, no one’s life is untouched by the pain of suicide and mental health related issues. In the next few months, the new Auditor-General, Martin Matthews, will present a report on acute care of mental health patients.
  3. Māori education – too many Māori children leave school without the education they deserve. The achievement gap between Māori and non-Māori is closing too slowly. As an Office, we are proud of our reports on Māori education, and we hope the sector will have the courage to do what is needed to help Māori students achieve their full potential.
  4. Jobs for youth – we are an organisation that recruits graduates who are beginning careers to become our future public sector leaders and finance managers. Too often we hear the phrase “we want experienced people”! How does a young person get experience with that attitude?
  5. Family violence and its impact on children – in her eight years in Police, Lyn says she saw the impact of family violence again and again. Family violence is not acceptable.

Staying at number one on the Corruption Perceptions Index means making it personal – having the uncomfortable conversations to find ways to tackle the issues that matter for people.

FULL ARTICLE AT: http://blog.oag.govt.nz/accountability/back-at-number-one

“Without transparency, allegations of corruption will flourish. Without transparency, people wonder what their politicians and officials are trying to hide. We can hardly blame them.”
— Lyn Provost