Auditor General Hassan Ziyath has accused the Public Finance Committee of the Parliament of irresponsibility, citing failure of the committee to evaluate reports issued by the Auditor General’s Office and taking necessary action.
Public Finance Committee is chaired by leader of Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)’s parliamentary group – Vilimale’ MP Ahmed Nihan Hussain Manik, and the vice chair of the committee is Vilufushi MP Riyaz Rasheed.
Speaking during a meeting of the Budget Evaluation Committee this Wednesday, Ziyath said the Auditor General’s Office has issued 184 reports in 2018.
He said each and every one of the reports should have been evaluated by the Public Finance Committee.
“I brought this to the attention of the Chair of Public Finance Committee. We submitted the documents,” said Ziyath.
Ziyath said it was the responsibility of the Public Finance Committee to summon heads of companies and government ministries and make them answerable to the findings of the Auditor General’s Office.
He said the Auditor General’s Office has informed the Public Finance Committee it was ready to provide any technical assistance necessary and prepare presentations on every report.
“I therefore believe we are fulfilling our responsibility. Auditor General does not have the authority of an investigative agency,” said Ziyath.
He said an Auditor General served the Public Finance Committee. He said the Auditor General’s Office has submitted a work plan for audits which need to be carried out in connection with the Projected State Budget 2019 to the Parliament and sent a letter informing the Parliament of the audits which need to be carried out the beginning financial year.
“The response we receive is to carry out audits we find necessary. That the committee will provide a response if the committee finds it necessary. So the truth is, the Public Finance Committee needs to be more active,” said Ziyath.
He said the Auditor General’s Office submits quarterly reports on losses incurred by the State.
Ziyath said the Auditor General’s Office issued 29 reports during the first quarter of 2018, which includes its findings of illegal expenditure of MVR 26 million, wastage of MVR 1.7 million and missing funds of MVR 33 million which needs to be recovered.
He said the Auditor General’s Office reported illegal expenditure of MVR 96 million, embezzlement of MVR 900,000 and wastage of MVR 22 million during the second quarter.
Ziyath said all the findings were reported to the Public Finance Committee but were overlooked, and asked “Is the Public Finance Committee to ready to look into these reports?”
He said the Auditor General’s Office conducts an average of 350 audits per year by visiting approximately 1,500 institutions.