NSA’s score card raises concern over poorly implemented audit recommendations

By Mohamed Konneh

Non-State Actors-Sierra Leone

The Non-State Actors (NSA) just this week released their just concluded score card on audit recommendations for the period 2015 and 2016. The Score Card suggests that progress on implementation of audit recommendations by MDAs has stalled raising concerns from all oversight stakeholders. Factors that contribute to noncompliance of audit issues by MDAs range from many weaknesses found within the overall fiscal control measures, the ineffectiveness of punitive measures to ensure compliance and also the absence of adequate political will to foster a compliance culture.

The audit recommendation follow-up score card project is a joint initiative of the Non-State Actors, the Public Accounts Committee and the Internal Audit Department that is supported by the Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project.

Ten MDAs were use as a pilot case, with the project assessing the rate of compliance of MDAs with a view to identify factors that engender or constrain efforts to achieve full compliance with audit recommendations proffered by the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee respectively. With a focus on 2015 and 2016 recommendations, the score card report assigns performance ratings to each of the MDAs and rank performance outputs based on actions completed to comply with each of the recommendations issued by both the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee.

The project titled “Developing effective partnership between Non State Actors (NSA) and Public Oversight Bodies for scaling up the implementation of the Recommendations of the Auditor General’s Report in Sierra Leone was funded by the Public Finance Management Improvement and Consolidation Project (PFMICP) through the Ministry of Finance. As an offshoot from the Public Financial Management

In June of 2019 an Aide Memoir agreed actions were initiated between the Non State Actors (NSA) Secretariat in collaboration with a constituted Network of NSA with interest in auditing and undertook a series of activities, events and actions geared towards scaling up the implementation of the Recommendations of the Auditor General’s Report in Sierra Leone.

The result of the work gives an insight into the level of collaboration between NSAs and public oversight institutions aimed at supporting each other’s work.  

NSAs have an important role to play in improving the environment for audit follow up implementation. With support and partnership with oversight bodies, NSAs can add value to the audit process by them acting in the         following ways:

Launch media programmes on the status of audit implementation and advocate for proper implementation though press releases, research and reports that increase the quality of oversight policy debates be included in the MDA Audit Committee to serve as an independent voice and increase the level of transparency in the operations of the MDAs.

Support with quality evidence gathering that can support effective audit hearings as well as supporting performance audit with real time facts.

Be given a well-defined mandate on their role in the audit process by the formal oversight agencies.

Improve cooperation with IAD, PAC and other oversight stakeholders.

Be firm and be seen proactive to exercise the authority to disallow and surcharge any item of expenditure accounted for in the Consolidated Fund provided for by section 93 of the PFM Act 2016.

Several recommendations were made and these include, the Ministry of Finance and the Internal Audit Department should work to strengthening Audit Committees, through tailored training, including providing Audit Committee members with a better understanding of their roles and responsibilities.

Be able to manage the activities of internal auditors across MDAs by ensuring that a systematic and disciplined approach is employed in managing risk, strengthening control, and the governance processes generally including systems and procedural reviews.

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