LIBERIA NEWS:CORRUPTION FIGHT BEGINS IN HOUSE

…Gives GAC Green-Light To Audit Its Activities

MONROVIA-The House of Representatives has approved an audit by the General Auditing Committee (GAC) in a move to enhance accountability and transparency. This decision, led by Cllr. J. Fonati Koffa’s leadership, marks the first audit of the House in over 67 years since the construction of the Capitol Building.

The audit aims to ensure compliance with legislative directives and policies, enabling the government’s First Branch to control public funds as mandated by the law, starting from the 55th Legislature on January 15, 2024.

In response to the House’s request for an audit in February, Auditor General Garswa Jackson Sr. appeared before the session in March, leading to the issuance of a Letter of Engagement. The GAC’s objectives for the audit encompass evaluating the House’s financial management systems and processes for alignment with legislative decisions, laws, and established guidelines.

The objectives of the review are: “To provide the intended user(s) with information on whether the House of Representatives Financial Management System and Processes are adequately designed and consistent with legislative decisions, laws, legislative acts, policies, established codes, and agreed upon terms; To gather sufficient and appropriate evidence whether the House of Representatives Financial Management System and Processes are adequately designed and in line with relevant legislative decisions, laws, legislative acts, policies, established codes and agreed upon terms,” AG Jackson said.

The AG highlighted a commitment to reporting findings following the GAC Act of 2014, ensuring transparency to the National Legislature.

“To report in terms of the GAC reporting requirements as spelled out in part four (4) of the GAC Act of 2014, the findings to the National Legislature. The review will be conducted to issue a limited assurance report on the Financial Management System and Processes of the House of Representatives.”

The GAC will undertake a System Review focusing on various areas such as administration, financial management, procurement practices, and asset management within the House of Representatives.

Accordingly, the GAC will undertake a System Review of the Financial Management System and processes of the House of Representatives. The system review will be undertaken under the mandate of the Auditor General (AG) as provided for in Section 2.1.3 of the GAC Act of 2014.

“This System Review is a limited assurance engagement rendered to assess the Financial Management System and Processes of the House of Representatives to provide recommendations for improvement, thereby setting the stage for an audit,” AG Jackson said.

The system review, which covers the current financial management system and processes in place at the House of Representatives, will focus on, but not be limited, to the following areas: Administration, including personnel management; maintenance, and payroll; Financial management, including accounting policy, budgeting, financial accounting, and reporting; Procurement practices; Liabilities management; Receivables management; Internal control and systems, including internal audit; Asset management, including effective and reliable assets, register system; Banking transactions, including reconciliations and record keeping.”

The audit will adhere to international audit standards and regulatory frameworks, aiming to provide recommendations for system enhancements and provide a foundation for future comprehensive audits.

The approach to be used for our system review engagement is derived from the International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) 100 and International Standard on Assurance Engagements ISAE 3000 (Revised), the GAC said. Other than Audits or Reviews of Historical Financial Information and from legislative decisions, laws, legislative acts, policies, and established codes such as the PFM Act and Regulations, PCC Act and Regulations, Civil Service Standing Order, Decent Work Act – 2015, Committee of Sponsoring Organizations of the Treadway Commission (COSO), Control Objectives for Information and Related Technologies (COBIT 2019), and Policies & Procedures identified as criteria relevant to evaluation.

“These standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform procedures that convey, through a written report, either a reasonable assurance or a limited assurance conclusion.

The House, through the Speaker, has acknowledged and agreed to the GAC’s terms by signing the necessary documentation, setting the stage for the commencement of the audit process, details of which will be announced by the GAC. The House signed the three (3) original copies of the agreement, returning two (2) original copies.

The focus person of the House of Representatives, Margibi County District #5 Representative, and Chairman on Public Account and Expenditure, Clarence Garr, and the GAC have concluded modalities on the kickoff of the GAC’s system audit of which the day is to be announced by GAC.

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