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Auditor-General's office given more teeth to stamp out municipal corruption

3 August 2020 1:52 PM
Tags:
municipal audits
Western Cape municipalities
Muncipalities

W Cape AG exec Sharonne Adams says accounting officer can now be liable to pay back monies if corrective measures not implemented.

In May the Auditor-General's office announced that 72% of municipalities in the Western Cape had been awarded clean audits.

Of the 257 municipalities in the entire country only 20 were awarded clean bills of financial health, reports Lester Kiewit on The Midday Report.

Sharonne Adams of the Western Cape Business Executive AG at Auditor-General Of South Africa talks to Lester about what comprises a clean audit and the vital importance of good forensic accounting in any government institution.

We do encourage the existence of good and well managed internal controls. We refer to them as preventative controls.

Sharonne Adams, Western Cape Business Executive AG - Auditor-General Of South Africa

She says these act as an ultimate deterrent to prevent fraud, money-laundering, financial crimes, and corruption.

Without these in place, it results in financial loss, costly investigations, and costly disciplinary hearings and litigations.

Preventative controls will be a huge cost-saving to the taxpayer ultimately.

Sharonne Adams, Western Cape Business Executive AG - Auditor-General Of South Africa

Now more than ever in this time of Covid-19 every institution needs to be held accountable for any misappropriation of money, she insists.

This time around there will be some special audits coming - based on the announcement the president has indicated the auditor-general will be looking at some of the spending related to PPE equipment and see if this money was utilised appropriately.

Sharonne Adams, Western Cape Business Executive AG - Auditor-General Of South Africa

She says there has been a trend of the same findings occurring in certain municipalities over and over again with no action being taken.

The Public Audit Act is now trying to ensure this does not continue to happen through three aspects, she says.

Firstly, the Auditor-General can now refer any suspected material irregularities to a public body for further investigation - such as the Public Protector or police services.

Sharonne Adams, Western Cape Business Executive AG - Auditor-General Of South Africa

Secondly, the A-G's office can now make recommendations in the audit report, she explains.

If those recommendations are not implemented, the Auditor-General now has the power to...ensure further action can be taken.

Sharonne Adams, Western Cape Business Executive AG - Auditor-General Of South Africa

She says thirdly the accounting officer can now be held accountable if the corrective action is not taken and be personally held liable to pay back the money.

Listen to the interview below:


3 August 2020 1:52 PM
Tags:
municipal audits
Western Cape municipalities
Muncipalities

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