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Public Accounts Committee Audit Spotlights Abuse

Two internal audits done of the Public Accounts Committee by the then Ministry of Finance in 2013 and 2014 highlighted abuse of public funds by very people who were tasked
27 Apr 2017 11:00
Public Accounts Committee Audit Spotlights Abuse
SODELA MP Aseri Radrodro

Two internal audits done of the Public Accounts Committee by the then Ministry of Finance in 2013 and 2014 highlighted abuse of public funds by very people who were tasked to scrutinise the use of public funds.

This was highlighted by Attorney-General and Minister for Finance Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum in Parliament yesterday.

Responding to a question by SODELA MP Aseri Radrodro on when the interim audited accounts from 2004 to 2010 would be tabled in Parliament, Mr Sayed-Khaiyum gave background information on what transpired with the Committee.

The question was posed on a regulation which is no longer in effect and expired when the Prime Minister was elected in 2014.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum informed Parliament that the internal audit found:

(a) Overpayments of sitting allowances in excess of $8000 – members were being paid for the hours they did not work and there were inconsistencies in relation to the signing of the daily attendance register.

(b) Accountable advances not re-tied within 7 days as required by the Financial  Instructions 2010;

(c) Catering tenders not being called and the catering company used by the PAC (since 2010) was owned by a PAC member operating in his wife’s name; and

(d) No written approval was sought to confirm the increase in catering rates from the Caterers during the period of 2012-2013.

Mr Radrodro was a member of the same Public Accounts Committee which was cited for the abuse.

“Given the gross mismanagement of funds by the PAC itself at the time, PAC appointments were subsequently terminated in 2014 with immediate effect pursuant to clause 8 of the 2007 Regulations.

“It was also decided that because Parliament would be in place in a few months’ time; audit reports from the office of the Auditor-General would be given to the new Parliamentary PAC for further deliberations.

“Given that this question is being put to Parliament by the Honourable Member who was also part of the PAC, he would indeed know that pursuant to clause 11 of the 2007 Regulations, the Regulations have indeed expired on the date the next elected Prime Minister is appointed.

“Since the inception of Parliament in 2014 all the reports of the office of the Auditor-General from 2007-20013 have been subsequently tabled before Parliament,” Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said.

Members on the PAC at the time of the internal audit were Aseri Radrodro, Alekisio Sela, Mary Galuvakadua, Manu Korovulavula (Chairperson) Lafitu Malani (Deputy Chairperson) and Mataiasi Kotobalavu (Member).

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum also highlighted that no one was asking for reports from 2000 to 2006, some of which are still pending.

“The only reports that not have been tabled are those Auditor-General reports from the years 2000-2006. These are the reports that neither the former PAC nor the currently Parliamentary PAC have considered. These will be tabled as soon as possible and sent to the Parliamentary PAC for review accordingly.”

 

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

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