Refer to the full edition at www.intosai.journal.org
The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) and INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI) continued with phase II of the SAI Performance Measurement Framework (SAI PMF) project for Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) in the North Pacific by facilitating a workshop in Majuro, Marshall Islands from 2 - 6 October 2017. Twenty two staff from nine SAIs attended the workshop.
The Chief Secretary of the Republic of Marshall Islands, Mr Benjamin Graham, officially opened the workshop. In his opening remarks, he acknowledged the importance of SAIs taking stock of where they are and how they can continue to improve. He said, “This process of methodical self-assessment and continual self-improvement is common sense—but sadly not common practice among many organisations. By going through these performance assessments and peer reviews and diagnosing your deficiencies and areas for improvement, you are not only setting the bar high on your own performance, you are also setting an example for other public institutions to follow.” These comments echoed the core purpose of the SAI PMF tool and how SAIs can demonstrate the fundamental principle of SAIs leading by example.
SAIs from Guam, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) Office of the National Public Auditor, FSM States of Pohnpei, Kosrae and Yap have been assessed through the peer review approach and the assessment reports are being finalised. The peer review teams were supported by resource persons from the region; they were Ms Claire Kelly, PASAI Performance Audit Consultant, Mr Allen Parker, Director of Audit for Cook Islands Audit Office, Mr Kelepi Makakaufaki, Deputy Auditor General of Tonga Office of the Auditor-General and Mr Marshall Maua, Director of Strategic, Personnel and Corporate Services of Samoa Audit Office.
The focus of the workshop was learning how to develop the qualitative evaluation, including identification of external and internal root causes of performance. Incorporating these external factors are crucial in explaining the SAI’s performance as these can either help or hamper the performance of the SAI. Each peer review team also presented and discussed lessons learned so far in the assessment, and preliminary high level results of their respective assessments.
The next steps in the programme are for the peer review teams to finalise the full report taking on board the lessons learnt from the workshop on integrated analysis and preparing a report that is evidence-based, balanced and easy to understand.
This programme is aligned with one of PASAI’s strategic goals requiring SAIs to develop a performance measurement framework to assist with improving the delivery of SAI’s audit responsibilities.
The workshop was facilitated by Ms Cecilie Thue-Hansen, Head of SAI PMF Unit within IDI and Mrs Sinaroseta Palamo-Iosefo, PASAI Director Practice Development.
This project is supported by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs, INTOSAI Development Initiatives (IDI) and the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
For further information, contact:
Tiofilusi Tiueti, Chief Executive PASAI Secretariat
Telephone: +64 9 304 1275
Sinaroseta Palamo-Iosefo, Director Practice Development
Telephone: +64 21 027 12717
This is an exciting opportunity to work at a global policy level to enhance financial accountability and transparency in all developing countries, through strengthening Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs).
The INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), based in Oslo, is recruiting a dynamic, free thinking individual as a strategic advisor to work with the IDI senior management team. IDI works with audit institutions in all developing countries, regional and global audit and accountability networks, and the international development community to strengthen the performance of SAIs, promote government accountability and transparency, fight corruption, and improve the lives of citizens. The successful candidate will support development of IDI’s new strategic plan, gathering of global evidence to formulate global policies, set up new global and regional partnerships, lead on the development and delivery of a new communications strategy, and ensure IDI leads by example in its corporate governance systems.
Deadline for application is the 9th of October
Questions regarding the position can be directed to Mr. Martin Aldcroft Email email@example.com
More information can be found per link below:
The Pacific Association of Supreme Audit Institutions (PASAI) and the Solomon Islands Office of the Auditor-General (SIOAG) conducted a series of workshops for the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Public Expenditure Committee (PEC), Government entities and stakeholders at the National Parliament of Solomon Islands on 11th – 14th September 2017.
The Speaker of Parliament Hon. Ajilon Jasper Nasiu when opening the PAC/PEC workshop stressed the importance for improvement of the capacity of members of Parliament in holding the executive government accountable on the use of public funds, in their contribution to better public administration and greater public confidence in the institutions ofthe Solomon Island government.
The purpose of the workshops were to raise awareness on PASAI and the work it does in the region, especially providing support to public sector audit institutions such as the SIOAG
to improve accountability and transparency in the island states. The workshop for PAC and
PEC was held be on 11th and 12th September, for government entities on 13th and for stakeholders on 14th September.
The objectives of the workshops were:
(a) to create awareness on the work of PASAI in the Pacific region especially in advocating transparency and accountability;
(b) to build the capacity of the Members of Parliament to better understand their role in
providing financial oversight of public expenditure as well as to better understand the specific role of the PAC and PEC within the processes of Parliament;
(c) to raise awareness on the role of SIOAG and how audit entities can be involved in improving the audit process;
(d) to discuss how to achieve greater audit impact by engaging audit entities throughout the audit process;
(e) to introduce a proposed Auditor General’s Bill 2017.
The training and awareness was conducted by the Solomon Islands Auditor General, Peter Lokay and assisted by PASAI consultants Eroni Vatuloka and Aisake Eke. The Solomon
Islands is the sixth country in the Pacific region that has hosted these series of transparency
and accountability workshops.
The DFAT Counsellor for Justice and Governance in the Solomon Islands, Ms Karyn Murray in closing the legislature committee workshops hoped that the training would enhance the work of the SIOAG and assist Parliament in the evaluation of government programmes and
organisations. It is anticipated that there would be an impact in good governance, transparency and accountability, improving operational efficiency and boosting the trust and
confidence on the SIOAG and the government.
The workshops are part of the PASAI’s advocacy programme to develop strong partnerships
with regional organisations and audit institutions to enhance accountability and transparency
in the region.
The SIOAG and PASAI acknowledge the kind financial assistance of the Solomon Islands
government, the Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the New
Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) in supporting the three workshops.
For more information please contact:
Chief Executive PASAI Secretariat
PASAI PFM Consultant
Pubiished on Matangi Tonga (http://matangitonga.to)
When confronted with revelations in the 2015-16 Annual Report of the Auditor General of unpaid debts, unrecorded assets, improper record of revenues and even separate bank accounts of government ministries, the Tongan Parliament was thrown into turmoil when it resumed its 2017-18 session on 1 August.
The Auditor General's report was among four other annual reports of government ministries that were tabled into parliament on 1 August.
According to experienced members of parliament this Auditor’s report was the most transparent and revealing report that had ever been presented to parliament.
The former Minister of Finance, ‘Aisake Eke and the Tongatapu No. 5 People’s Representative praised the Auditor General for his report, which pointed out the wrong doings in 13 government ministries, including the Ministries of Justice, Police, Prisons, Education, Health, Agriculture, Infrastructure, Public Enterprises, Labour and Commerce, Marine and Ports. The main problem, he said, was that they did not follow the due process that had been set out by the Ministry of Finance. This led to government ministries having:
He said that most unusual also was the fact that the Ministry of Justice has its own Bank Account.
The former Minister of Finance reminded the House that legally, government ministries cannot establish an account without the approval of the Minister of Finance.
With regards to Public Enterprises he queried why the Tonga Development Bank and Tonga Power have independent auditors, and are not audited by the Auditor General, and why the salaries of the directors of the Water Board are paid in advance.
He suggested for the annual reports of Government Enterprises to be submitted to the House as had been the practice in the past.
A shocking surprise, was how Prime Minister Hon ‘Akilisi Pohiva described the report which showed the very poor service that is offered by his government ministries, and how they are mismanaging government properties and finance.
He called on Cabinet Ministers to return to their ministries and call a meeting with their CEOs to address the problems that were pointed out in the report.
Lord Nuku pointed out to the PM that wrongdoing had been committed and a drastic measure should be taken.
The PM however insisted that what he was proposing was for the Ministers and their CEOs to put an end to all these wrong and illegal activities.
Lord Nuku repeated his point that wrongdoings had taken place, and the PM wanted his ministers to go back and put them right.
Lord Tu’ilakepa suggested that since the Auditor General had come under the Speaker and the Legislative Assembly, they should proceed and take legal action against the wrongdoings within government. He reminded the House that in the past, a Cabinet Minister lost his ministerial because he deposited government money into his own personal account.
Lord Tu’ilakepa also queried why the report did not report the case concerning a former Cabinet Minister who was penalised by the Prime Minister for wrongdoing, and was supposed to work without pay for five months. He wondered if the Prime Minister had actually punished the Cabinet Minister as he told the House.
The PM corrected the member that the Minister that he was referring to did not work without pay. He said that the suggestion was only a motion, but it was rejected by the House.
“That is an out-right lie,” Lord Tu’ilakepa said, and reminded the house that the PM said he would punish the minister, and he would work without pay.
The Prime Minister insisted that the motion for him to punish the Cabinet Minister was rejected by the House.
Lord Tu’ilakepa insisted that the motion was passed by the House and it was broadcasted on the radio.
The Minister of Police, Hon. Mateni Tapueluelu reminded the Chairman that they were debating over the 2015-16 Annual Report of the Auditor General, and there were a lot of issues for them to get into, but instead they were dealing with an issue that was not in the report.
Lord Tu’ilakepa reminded the Minister that the case he was referring to took place in 2015.
The House on the following day 2 August voted 17-0 for the Annual Report of the Auditor General to be forwarded to the Standing Committee on Finance and Public Accounts of the House to work on then report back to Parliament.
However, before the House voted on the Annual Report, there were a few wild exchanges between Lord Tu’ilakepa and, Light of Day Taka and the PM.
It started off because the PM expressed his concern over the misuse of government vehicles.
Lord Tu’ilakepa said that he had spotted the vehicle of the Chairman of the Whole House Committee, Light of Day Taka, at night at a kava club in their area.
Light of Day said he was there on a church mission to see who was drinking kava.
The PM, however, shifted the topic to remind the House of a cocaine smuggling case with rumours that Lord Tu’ilakepa knew something about. The case was terminated.
Lord Tu’ilakepa responded to the PM, by telling him that he should resign - health wise he is not well and he should go home. “It is not right for you to continue as a Prime Minister!”
Author: Pesi Fonua
THE Public Accounts Standing Committee (PAC) is considering the common audit issues arose during the audit conducted on Government Ministries, Departments and Agency (MDA) in the financial year 2015/2016.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, or for recruitment queries please contact Natalie Price on +64 9 304 1275 or email@example.com.
You must apply online through www.jobs.govt.nz (and you'll find the position descriptions there, too).
Applications close: Friday 14 July 2017.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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:
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.
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/.
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).
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.
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.