Authorities at the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning or MFDP say the General Auditing Commission (GAC’s) recent audit report circulated in the media, wrongly suggests that resources were either abused or unaccounted for.
The MFDP in a release on Sunday, July 5th categorically rejected the subtle assumption created by the GAC that monies have gone missing on account of not receiving supporting documentations.
“We believe this assumption is not only dangerous, but misleading and unwholesome. When supporting documents are not sourced or when there are reasonable limitations to accessing them on schedule, it cannot be translated to mean that funds had gone missing or the auditors cannot fuel the impression of unethical or unprofessional conduct,” the ministry argued.
The MFDP authorities say inasmuch they welcome the Special Procurement Audit Report of the Public Works Ministry and the Audit Report of the Consolidated Financial Statement of the Government of Liberia, covering Fiscal Year 2012-2013, they are taken aback by these very disturbing insinuation, which could have been avoided had the GAC acted reasonably in incorporating some of the pertinent clarifications provided by the MFDP during the audit process.
“We however view these audit processes as critical to our collective determination to improve the public financial management system of the government, a necessary precondition to determine corruption and the abuse of state resources – all of which translates into increased resources for development spending.”
The release said contrary to assumptions contained in the audit report that the Comptroller and Accounting General did not provide supporting documents for 3,419 payment transactions for various components in the Financial statements, amounting to US$209,790,651.04, authorities at the MFDP maintained that they provided the GAC all material information and clarifications needed to address the audit issues raised in the Report of the Auditor General.
Additionally, in some cases, instances of missing documentations were not followed through or clarifications provided by the MFDP were not incorporated in the Auditor General’s report.
Meanwhile, MFDP authorities emphasize that all GOL transactions in the IFMIS or Free Balance Accounting System are also supported by hard copy vouchers as well as all other essential documents that are available and can be produced upon the GAC’s request.
The release added that the MFDP had consistently reminded the Auditors that request for documents must be formal, time-conscious and delivered to the Audit Focal Person. Request for “relevant” audit documents should be planned and requested in a timely manner, so as to highlight the fact that the Auditors sometimes make request for documents and fail to take delivery of them.
It said if Auditors had taken delivery of these documents earlier, there would have been no need for the false and misleading assumption that over 200 million dollars of transactions were processed without supporting documentations.