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Foreign Affairs Clarifies Audit Issues

Foreign Affairs Clarifies Audit Issues
Ministry of Foreign Affairs director finance Josefa Tuima (right) and deputy secretary operations Arieta Moceica at the Public Accounts Submissions on April 26, 2018. Photo: Losirene Lacanivalu
April 27
11:00 2018

MP Aseri Radrodro questions issues highlighted in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Audit reports.

The Ministry of Foreign Af­fairs has taken steps to ad­dress issues raised in the Auditor-General’s reports.

Director finance Josefa Tuima, on the issue of unreconciled overseas mission’s bank accounts, high­lighted that a new method had been introduced since May 2016 to tackle the issues.

He was responding to Public Ac­counts Committee (PAC) member and Opposition Member of Parlia­ment Aseri Radrodro who ques­tioned the steps the ministry had taken after three years of audit is­sues at the PAC meeting.

The ministry had presented its response to the questions raised by the PAC on the Ministry’s 2016 Auditor-Generals Report.

Mr Tuima said a major contribut­ing factor for the issue was accu­mulated savings over the years in which missions overseas had more than one bank account.

Mr Radrodro said this was an on­going issue highlighted in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 Audit report.

“All those years the Committee had been assured that the ministry would take reasonable steps and those actions are yet to be taken to address the variances in the poli­cies.

“From previous explanations, the Committee thinks the difficulties to try to get everything on time, noted the absence of qualified people at the respective agencies.

“You say you are trying to relate from this end, maybe you need to address the need to put the right qualified staff to conduct verifica­tion exercise.

Ministry’s deputy secretary op­erations Arieta Moceica responded that a strategic workforce plan had been completed and the weakness in the systems had been identified.

Ms Moceica said so far, the Min­istry had begun with a mission where an accounts officer was part of the mission as a diplomat and as a second secretary.

She said they also looked at the Vi­enna Convention to have a category for administrative technical staff.

“So we are looking at those, to fill our missions with people who can do accounts.

“We have also deployed staff to the mission to work in internal audits before the reports come in, and this has started in the last three to four months.”

Ms Moceica said the Foreign ser­vices officers’ service regulation was under review with the Solic­itor-General’s Office and hoped it would be completed in the final year.

“We have also put in place policies and standard operating procedures to address the reoccurring issues; it is still a work in progress under the direction of the Ministry of Economy.”

Edited by Mohammed Zulfikar

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