Auditor General’s Department to appear before PAC

Auditor General Pamela Monroe Ellis and her team are to appear before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to answer questions in relation to an internal audit report on the department which went to the House of Representatives on April 13.

Deputy House Leader Olivia Grange moved a motion to refer the report to the PAC in the House yesterday.

In the audit report, which was carried out by the Ministry of Finance’s Internal Audit Unit (IAU) for the period April 2016 to March 2019, the Auditor General’s Department (AuGD) was cited for breaches of the rules of the Financial Audit and Assessment (FAA) Act.

The IAU said the department was, at the time of the audit (July-September 2019), without a business continuity plan, and noted improper back-up practices which exposed it to loss of critical data.

At the time of the audit, the procurement function within the department was not formalised, and as a result there were breaches in respect of the processing of purchase orders, the report said.

Furthermore, the IAU’s Chief Internal Auditor Richard Dillon said contracts were not presented for two companies engaged by the department to provide services.

The report pointed to a poorly maintained travel register in the prescribed form, which contravened the FAA financial instructions of 2017. Also, inaccurate calculations of prorated travel allowance resulted in under-payment to some officers; and anomalies were observed for motor vehicle declarations submitted by four officers who used motor vehicles belonging to others to carry out official duties.

The report highlighted a lack of evidence that the AuGD submitted the list of accountable officers to the financial secretary as required by the FAA Act instructions.

The finance ministry also made note of issues with human resource management such as breaches of the staff orders as there were no signed Official Secrets Act declaration on the files of three officers, neither was there evidence of background checks for eight officers.

The AuGD is responsible for assessing the effectiveness of the Government’ financial management systems and compliance with financial management policies and guidelines by ministries agencies and departments.

The main objective of the audit, authorised under the constitution, was to determine compliance with relevant laws and regulations, circulars, and other Government of Jamaica guidelines in the areas of procurement, payroll, technology, human resources, and information technology.

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