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Reviewed Audit Act to ‘empower’ AG’s office

by Sunday Express
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letuka Chafotsa

Auditor General Lucy Liphafa

Auditor General Lucy Liphafa

THE office of the auditor-general (AG) will only gain administrative independence to facilitate the efficient and timely auditing of reports upon the passage of the reviewed Audit Act, Chief Information Officer Mats’epo Mohau has said.

In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Express, Ms Mohau said the AG’s office does not have resources to discharge its duties due to lack of administrative independence.
The process of appointing staff, she said, is done through the Public Service Commission.

“We are functionally independent as per the constitution and the Audit Act of 1973, but we are still behind in terms of administrative independence since our personnel are being employed through the Public Service Commission,” Ms Mohau said.

Section117 (6) of the constitution stipulates that the AG should not be subject to the direction or control of any authority or person.

The AG’s office is also mandated with conducting a full audit of all accounts relating to the consolidated fund of Lesotho, other accounts and public stores for the purpose of providing an overall opinion on the accounts.
It states its mission as: “To promote sustainable public accountability, transparency and value for money by providing professional auditing services to all stakeholders whilst creating a respectful workplace where our diverse workforce realise their full potential and strive for excellence.”

Ms Mohau said upon the reopening of the parliament, she is hopeful the reviewed Audit Act will sail through to ensure they meet their obligations more effectively.
The draft Audit Act empowers the office of AG with the freedom to operate without interference as well as employ staff and suppliers of services.

Meanwhile, local auditing experts have also concurred with the view that the lack of administrative authority violates the whole purpose of the office of the AG.
The lack of autonomy, the experts say, renders void its mission statement to be an “independent and proactive supreme audit institution that promotes public accountability and transparency”.
New Dawn Chartered Accountant Lerata Pekane said: “By its very nature, it is imperative for the office of auditor-general to be fully independent to ensure its efficiency and to achieve its purpose.”
“It should report to parliament and not to any ministry and its human resources should be regulated and employed within the office to ensure autonomy.

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