In its Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report on the Auditor General’s 2017 Annual Report, it was observed that Accounting Officers did not follow financial regulations and that the recurrence of such noncompliance was due to non-imposition of stiff disciplinary actions against such erring officers. As was evidenced by the queries that have repeatedly been flagged up by the Auditor General, these include but are not limited to misapplication of funds, misappropriation of revenue, failure to secure accounting documents, unsupported payments and failure to account for stores. The Committee’s final report to Parliament recommended that in future, the Accounting Officers must ensure that documents are available for verification at the time of audit as required by law. “Failure to comply would invoke strong disciplinary action.” It was also identified that the responses of Vote Controllers were inadequate and unsatisfactory regarding supporting documents and that delayed the work of the Committee.
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It was also recommended that Vote Controllers endeavour to clear all outstanding audit issues that have not been resolved due to lack of adequate supporting documents and Council Officials who failed to provide documents for audit verification at the time of audit without valid cause be held accountable for the payment of the monetary value attached to those documents. Another key observation of the Committee was the permissiveness of the Councils in the area of maintaining financial records. That was clearly demonstrated by their failure to prepare bank reconciliation statements for the institution’s accounts and erroneous Cash Book records.
By Zainab Iyamide Joaque
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