The Office of the Auditor-General says it is rather unfortunate that public statements have been released to publicly denigrate their reputation.
This is after Walesi Fiji Limited stated that they have submitted all their financial reports until 2020 to the Office of the Auditor-General who unfortunately has continued to delay auditing and finalizing their financial accounts for every year since 2015.
The Office of the Auditor-General says they are also concerned about the selective publishing of information concerning annual audits.
A statement says the Auditor General will not respond directly and publicly to various allegations contained in these statements.
It says the Auditor-General and the Office of the Auditor-General are bound by section 8 of the Audit Act 1969 concerning secrecy and the confidentiality aspects of the auditor–client relationship governing the audit profession.
The statement further says the Office of the Auditor-General will not release any information, not yet publicly available, concerning any audit client, except in the Auditor-General’s Reports to Parliament.
It says the Office of the Auditor-General accepts that it currently has the enormous challenge and responsibility of auditing backlog draft financial statements which were not submitted annually over several years within the resources that it has been allocated.
The statement further says that the Office of the Auditor-General will continue to work with these State entities to ensure that audits of financial statements are updated.
It adds the Auditor-General and the Office of the Auditor-General will continue to diligently deliver its responsibilities as mandated by the 2013 Constitution and Audit Act 1969.
In a statement last week, Walesi stated that their financial reports from 2015 to 2017 have been audited by the Auditor General and have already been tabled as part of the Auditor General's report in Parliament which is also easily accessible online.
It says they had also submitted their 2018, 2019, and 2020 financial reports for auditing to the Auditor General's office and are waiting for them to finish the audit.
Walesi says they queried with the Auditor General multiple times in writing on the reason for the massive delays.
It adds that despite being the cause of the delays, the Auditor General in its 2020 report phrased the write-up about Walesi in a manner that made it seem like Walesi was causing the delay.
A Commission of Inquiry will be conducted into the Office of the Auditor-General and the findings are expected to be submitted within three months to the President.
Three people have been appointed by President Ratu Wiliame Katonivere as Commissioners to conduct the inquiry.
They are former USP Pro-Chancellor Winston Thompson, Chairperson of the FRCS Board Fay Yee and Accountant Lala Sowane.
Thompson has been appointed as the chairperson of the Commission.
A statement on the Fijian Government Facebook page says the Commissioners are expected to inquire into and report on several things.
These include the conduct, operations and performance of the Office of the Auditor-General and the capacity of the Office of the Auditor-General to carry out its functions and duties effectively and efficiently under the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji, the Audit Act 1969 and any other written law.
It also includes whether the Office of the Auditor-General is carrying out its functions and duties and exercising its powers in accordance with the Constitution of the Republic of Fiji, the Audit Act 1969 and any other written law.
The inquiry will also seek to find out if the Office of the Auditor-General is acting within the scope of its constitutional and legislative powers, duties and functions.
They will also try to find out whether the Office of the Auditor-General is carrying out its functions and duties in accordance with internationally accepted audit procedures and requirements.
The Commissioners have also been directed to make recommendations to eliminate and prevent any unlawful, improper, ineffective or inefficient practices in the Office of the Auditor-General.
We have sent questions to the Office of the President and the Office of the Auditor General.
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