By Morlai Ibrahim Kamara
The Audit Service Sierra Leone has held a Press Conference at the Harry Yansaneh Hall, SLAJ Building, on the 7th January 2021, to make clarifications on issues raised in the Auditor General’s 2019 Audit and Covid-19 Report.
According to the Audit Service Sierra Leone I E C Officer, Martin Sandy, it is an international best practice for Supreme Service Audit institutions to communicate effectively to stakeholders.
He stated that, in Sierra Leone, the Supreme Audit institution is the Audit Service Sierra Leone.
He emphasized that Supreme Audit institutions must interact with the media and acknowledged that the role of the media is one which should be strategic in order to transcend information to the public.
According to the Auditor General of the Audit Service Sierra Leone, Lara Taylor-Pearce clarifies that they carried out their work guided by international best standards which are normally used by the public sector.
She stated that the Audit Service Sierra Leone just as many other supreme audit institutions around the world carried out three types of audit which she categorized as Financial Auditing, Compliance and Performance Auditing.
Madam Taylor-Pearce stated that in the year 2020, they carried out financial statement audit on the set of financial statement prepared by the Accountant General on all revenue and expenditure for the year ended 31st December, 2020.
She emphasized that the Organization also embarked on various compliance audit of Ministries Department and Agencies, local councils, commissions and Public Enterprises.
She defined compliance audit as an independent assessment of whether a given subject matter is in compliance with the applicable authorities which could be internal or external laws based on policies.
She clarified that Compliance Audits are carried out by assessing whether activities, financial transactions and information comply in all material effect with the authority which governs the audited entity, adding that it focuses on obtaining sufficient appropriate evidence regarding compliance with those criteria.
She emphasized that it is the responsibility of the Public Sector bodies and their appointed Officials to be transparent about their actions and accountable to the citizens with the funds which they are entrusted with and to exercise good governance over those funds.
She reaffirmed that the in Public Sector External auditing, the burden of proofs rest on the Auditee.
She stated that it’s the responsibility of the Auditee to give evidences and proofs on how public funds have been spent.
She maintained that the process of obtaining information should have served as an opportunity for an auditee to provide all evidences and proofs to the auditor, noting that all Public Sector Audits are timebound and cannot go on in perpetuity.
She revealed that there were instances were public enterprises failed to provide financial statement for the audited financial year and prior to 2019.
She opined that this trend will continue until all such institution takes public financial management as seriously as they should and prepare and present their account for auditing purposes within deadline.