Audit Reports are Not Taboos for the Public
-AG Morlu tells African Auditors General
AG Morlu makes presentation during the AFROSAI-E Board Meeting
The Auditor General (AG) of Liberia, Mr. John S.Morlu II has expressed regret that most of the audit reports conducted by some African auditors general are merely shelved and labeled as taboos to the media, civil society organizations and the public at large.
Speaking Tuesday, 21 April 2009 at the Sixth AFROSAI- E Governing Board Meeting held in Lusaka, Zambia, AG Morlu emphasized that if African auditors general must succeed, the public must be active participants in terms of dissemination of audit information to the public once they are sent to the legislature, president and the auditees.
Auditor General further stressed that the public must know how, where, what and when public monies are spent by those entrusted with public monies. The resources of a country, he said, do not belong to government officials. Government officials are just custodians in ensuring appropriate utilization of public funds, but it is the general public that own the monies and resources.
“The fight for transparency and accountability”, AG Morlu averred, “is not a one or two man show and so audit reports must not be seen like a big secret or sacred document only meant to be kept with the auditors, auditees and the government.”
Morlu then expressed concern that up till now the secretariat of AFROSAI-E are yet to specifically carve strategic plans and policies on the need and importance of communication in the auditing processes. He has the Secretariat has not recruited Communication Manager since a year ago that will plan, organize, carve and structure a general communication plan for AFROSAI-E members.
AG Morlu told his fellow auditors that unlike most auditing commissions; the General Auditing Commission (GAC) is far ahead in recruiting professional journalists for the Department of Communications as well as legal analysts for the Legal Department. Most of the auditing institutions in AFROSAI-E do not have communication and legal departments and he urged them to do so. GAC department of communications has a standard communication policy.
The Auditor General of Liberia, Mr.Morlu was among 22 auditors general from the English and Portuguese speaking countries who attended the Meeting.
Zambian President Rapheal Binda who spoke at the opening program highlighted the challenges and importance of auditing in the transformation of Africa from the shackles of graft, abuse of resources, corruption and fiscal improprieties.
If Africa must develop, President Binda indicated, the age old corruption virus must be fearlessly fought by African Governments. He then lauded the steady strive that some auditors general in Africa are making in protecting public monies.
For her part, the Auditor General of Zambia, Ms.Anna Chifungula expressed compliments to the auditors general for their participation. She said she was pleased that auditors are united in single front to ensure fiscal discipline in their various countries.
Meanwhile, the Chief Communication Officer of the GAC, Ernest S.Maximore cataloguing his experience during the trip to Lusaka, explained that he was surprised that the real and personal properties of public officials who were proved to have stolen government monies were confiscated and auctioned by anti-corruption commission or tribunal .
This he noted, is a worth noted move to deter would-be-corrupt officials from using public monies to own estates and other properties while majority of the people wallow in abject poverty.
He said he anxiously opts for the day and dispensation in Liberia’s history where the fight against corruption will truly match with empirical deeds and where people will not only be suspended or dismissed but made to restitute what they stole from the public treasury.
The Meeting zero-on revamping, restructuring and reinforcing AFROSAI-E six strategies imperatives; namely human resource management, quality assurance, performance auditing, the independence of the Supreme Auditing Institution(SAI),the optimal utilization of information technology in the auditing process and communication and the media.
AG Morlu’s delegation comprises five senior staff: Ron Mwambwa,Head of European Union(EU) Long Term Technical Team assigned at GAC, George Nubo, Director of Operations, Gloria Valhum, Chief of Office Staff, Office of the Auditor General ,Loraine Clarke,Executive Secretary, Office of the Auditor General, Ernest S.Maximore,Chief Communication Officer,Cornelius F.Wennah,Director of Legal Services and Lawrence W. Jackson Manager, Legal Services Manager.
The Delegation is expected home, today Monday,April 27,2009.The Sixth Board Meeting of AFROSAI- was held from 20th April to the 24th .
AFROSAI –E is an organization that succeeds the Southern African Development Community Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (SADCOSAI) which was established as an independent organization in 1991.
The objectives of AFROSAI-E, among other things include, enhancing the audit performance of Supreme Audit Institutions in the AFROSAI-E region; developing and share resources on local and regional levels; promoting and maintaining relations with national, regional and international institutions specializing in issues affecting the audit of public resources and to support regional institutions in promoting good governance.