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Howai: I will investigate

Monday, June 2 2014

FINANCE Minister Larry Howai, yesterday said he will investigate several issues in terms of compliance with proper accounting procedures at certain government ministries, raised in a newspaper report published yesterday.

Howai, in a release, expressed his concern with the matters raised in the report and assured the public that an exercise was started toward the end of last year to improve the state of financial reporting in each Ministry.

According to the Exchequer and Audit Act, Section 3, Chapter 69:01 the Ministry of Finance does not have oversight over Ministries and each ministry of government operates autonomously.

Notwithstanding this, Howai confirmed meeting with all Permanent Secretaries to emphasise the importance of their role as the chief accounting officers of their respective Ministries, in ensuring compliance with proper accounting procedures.

The Minister also expressed his concern that there were “a few instances” of non compliance in the Ministry of Finance and has already advised that ministry’s Permanent Secretary, that although the exceptions were few, the goal is to ensure 100 percent compliance.

Several Permanent Secretaries in various Ministries have advised that they have already rectified many of the exceptions identified. Specific instances of non compliance occurred as a result of certain documents being misfiled and not being available at the time of the audit. In a number of instances, the documents to support the transactions have already been located.

Following the last Report in July 2013, priority was placed on ensuring that all ministries of government adhere strictly to proper financial and regulatory policies and practices. The Minister noted at the time that the issues had been brought to his attention relatively late in the year and consequently the improvements being effected may have been too late to make the kind of impact that he would have liked to see in the fiscal year. The Minister is however, satisfied that there has been a general level of improvement when compared to prior years and expects that this process will continue.

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