OAG auditors to have temporary offices in districts

Published On: July 31, 2017 04:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, July 30: Office of the Auditor General (OAG) will start auditing public expenditure of the last fiscal year from Monday. 

It has already mobilized its audit staffers in 10 districts in the hilly region and three districts of the Kathmandu Valley in the first phase. Unlike in the past, audit teams of OAG will work from their own offices in districts outside the Kathmandu Valley, according to OAG officials.

“OAG will open up temporary offices in different districts to facilitate auditing. It is expected to enhance auditing and end the practice of auditors depending on their own clients while discharging their duty,” Auditor General Tanka Mani Sharma told media persons at an orientation program for journalists in Dhulikhel on Sunday. “All concerned offices hereafter will have to submit documents of spending at our temporary offices.”
The districts covered in the first phase are Manang, Mustang, Solukhumbu, Bajura, Bajhang, Dolpa, Humla, Jumla, Jajarkot, Mugu.

However, auditors will visit the concerned offices for examining their spending if they have huge spending and also if it is not easy to submit documents to their office.
“We are putting extra efforts to make auditing more transparent and effective, and also to boost the confidence of auditors. This way they will be able to prepare more objective reports,” Sharma added.

The OAG will soon publish a public notice, giving details of temporary offices of auditors, and informing public that government auditors are in their district headquarters. “General public can also lodge complaint at those offices if they have seen any irregularities in public spending,” he added.

In addition to these efforts, the OAG will also instruct auditors to follow the guidelines as well as report spending of taxpayers in the districts. It has directed public offices to complete pending audits by September 15 or face action. 

Public offices that have not conducted audit for several years are Citizens Investment Trust, Rastriya Beema Sansthan, Nepal Tourism Board, and Guthi Sasthan. “We will take action against these offices if they fail to complete the given tasks by September,” said Sharma. 

In its six-year plan for 2017 -2023 unveiled recently, the OAG has announced to include all public entities for its auditing, changing the existing practice of covering only around 4,500 public offices, leaving out around 1,000 units doing small transactions.
“We want to cover all offices that spend government money. Now onwards, we will also keep tabs on non-financial policies and their impacts, and the overall impact assessment of government spending in specific area,” Sharma added.

The OAG has also managed to include past financial performance of concerned officials as a criterion for promotion. “We have now started providing information of financial performance of concerned official for his/her promotion,” he added. Similarly, the OAG said that only the officials having satisfactory financial performance will be deemed fit to lead projects of Rs 1 billion and above. 

Meanwhile, OAG has also started naming officials, who have not performed audits or cleared arrears or unaccounted expenditures, it its audit reports. Also, the department heads and chiefs cannot leave their office until they complete internal audit, said OAG. 

Speaking at the program, Chairman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee, Dor Prasad Upadhyaya, urged the OAG to look into policy corruption, saying that policy corruption starts from the budget-making process. “Political leaders, both in the government and outside, influence officials involved in the budget-making process to put their petty projects in the budget,” added Upadhyaya.

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