Audit Service 2018 budget gets positive nod

By Mohamed Konneh
Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce- Sierra Leone Auditor General
The Audit Service Sierra Leone proposed budget for 2018 has been unanimously approved at the budget discussion and policy hearing currently taking place at the Miata conference center.
The agency’s proposed budget was approved based on their deliveries and programmes presented.
Presenting the budget on Wednesday 23rd this year, the Deputy Auditor General Adama Renner said for 2018 they will audit Ministries, Departments and Agencies, Audit of the 19 Local authorities, audit donor funded projects, audit public enterprises, and audit the public account.
Madam Renner said the Audit service plans to continue engaging qualified professional accountants whose emoluments and conditions of services must be equated to those offered by other firms of auditors and allied institutions in order to be able to attract and retain such professional.
She said it is important to carry out the business on the correct premises if the Audit Service should succeed. At this moment, the organization is in dire need of the appropriate office accommodation. This will also guarantee the capabilities and proper functioning of institution in conformity with high expectation of its numerous.
‘Our strategic policies were developed based on the provision in the agenda for Prosperity with regards to accountability and the mandate for which Audit service was established.
The intended activities to be carried out under the programme of the audit service include the carrying out of audit exercises in all Ministries and departments, universities, teacher training colleges, overseas mission, parastatals in the country and other institutions into which government pours its funds, she said.
Adama said it is important to note that this point in our country, specialized oversight organization like the audit service Sierra Leone and others complimenting the work of the audit service can be extremely effective only if they have sufficient independence, authority and both financial and human resources to functions efficiently.
The Auditor General Mrs. Lara Taylor-Pearce during the budget discussion used the opportunity to react to statement made this week by the National Public Procurement Authority downplaying the audit report. Mrs. Taylor-Pearce said audit report is not an opinion but what is audited on the field.
The Auditor General said whereas an item is cost around one hundred dollars for which the exchange rate is around seven hundred Leones and the price of that item is peg at ten million Leones then automatically it will be said to have been overpriced.
The audit service she said has the capability the knowhow to audit specific areas and that the agency is annually assessed by international bodies with set standards. In audit opinion is only given on financial statement, but when A becomes D, there is no way of putting it. When black becomes white there is no other way in putting it so an audit report is not an opinion but the fact of what is observed during the exercise.
“Some people just do not want to understand the audit or deliberately refused to understand audits issues. But this will not distract us as we are professional in what we do and believed in what we do. We have professional auditors and we continue to capacitate our staff.
We are now on the verge of auditing the EITI and with help from Norway our auditors are learning through the process’ she said.
As at 30th June we have completed 124 audits for which draft reports have been issued 73 of these have been finalized. Approximately 50 audits are in [progress and will be completed by end of august 2017.
In terms of budgetary allocation, the agency had received Le4.881 billion in 2016 and 2.7490 billion as at July 2017. A budget ceiling of 7.8583.3 billion has been allocated for 2018.

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