The generation that’s ceasing to care

PNG govt spending not being accounted for

Auditor General Gordon Kega
Auditor General Gordon Kega - 1,500 entities to audit, many eight years in arrears, is an impossible workload

| PNG Bulletin

PORT MORESBY – Papua New Guinea’s auditor-general, Gordon Kega, says a large percentage of the 1,500 government entities his office is mandated to audit have not submitted financial statements, some of them for the past eight years.

They include 42 national departments, 21 provincial governments, 20 hospital boards, 321 local-level governments, 432 service improvements plans, 487 statutory authorities and 155 business arms

Kega said the non-submission of financial statements by the public bodies within the legislated timeframe is a major issue.

“Without financial statements, we cannot commence out audits,” he said.

“There is no penalty or consequence for this non-submission as there is no legal body in place to refer the entity and senior officers for civil and administrative review.”

Kega said the ability to improve public administration is difficult when the audit funding his office raises with the entities is often from several years ago.

He said his office needs more resources to conduct the backlog of audits that needs to be completed each year.

“This is an impossible workload for the approximately 110 auditors in my office,” he said.

While the PNG government allocates a substantial amount of its funds to provincial governments, there is no independent assurance that the activities are properly accounted for and consistent with parliament’s intentions.

The quality of financial statements is often not to the required standard and often the staff of entities have had no training in preparing financial statements.


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William Dunlop

Well pointed out about the Auditor General's standing up for himself and his Department's abject failure for the past eight years.

Back in 1982, when an A-G audit was done, the recipient department would have a feeling of having been reamed.

And just as effective were the Parliamentary Accounts Committee hearings, they were that good.

I actually used them in surprise audits in 1982, as word was getting out that internal audits were about to take place in the Department of Works and Supply.

On both occasions, the poo hit the fan - ghost labour lines and financing petty cash staff loans (a very large tin of worms) that weren't repayable.

Simon Davidson

The Auditor-General's report suggests where the billions of the nation's wealth ends up passes into oblivion.

It is the Waigani swamp and other behemoths in the costly, obese and unproductive government bureaucratic machinery. As a taxpayer, this makes me angry.

Lindsay F Bond

PNG folk have an Auditor-General with clear sight of rules. Goodo.
The notion of "Rule of Law" is the "bottom line" with respect to support for the nationhood of Ukraine, so it is the current "conversation that needs to be".

Just coincidentally, a dividing line on rule based behaviour pops up also in a sport, namely cricket.
What is fair and what is permissable may be a fudge for some, yet clear thinking is essential, not just spin and toss of a ball. For an example there is the 'Mankad'.
For the record, I don't have a "Broad" view on it. Cricketer Broad can't at pace, where cricketers who could, might also have spin.

Lindsay F Bond

Appears PNG is rushin’ to oblivion.
Who can lead folk to stand up and be counted?

Kindin Ongugo

It is interesting that the Attorney-General pointed out that most of the poor financial accountability by government agencies occurred in the last eight years.

It is the period James Marape was finance minister under Peter O'Neill and then took over as prime minister with a vote of no confidence.

These two gentlemen are from the once large province of Southern Highlands.

It may say something about the style of leadership from that part of PNG.

The Auditor-General did not say most of the problems had occurred in the last eight years. He said a large percentage of financial statements had not been submitted for audit and the oldest of these dated back eight years - KJ

Arthur Williams

The mandate of the Auditor-General is defined by Section 214 of the Constitution, Section 3 of the Audit Act 1989 and Section 113 of the Organic Law on Provincial Governments and Local Level Governments.

His office's primary functions are to inspect and audit and to report at least once every fiscal year (as provided by an act of parliament) to the parliament:

1 on the public accounts of Papua New Guinea, and

2 on the control of and on transactions with or concerning the public moneys and property of Papua New Guinea, and such other functions as are prescribed by or under a Constitutional Law.

The attorney-general has power to prosecute under the Audit Act 1989 and under the Organic law on Provincial Governments and Local Level Governments.

The Auditor-General is also vested with the sole mandate to conduct public audits of bodies listed to be subject to his audit and to report to parliament on the public accounts of PNG and on the control of and transactions with or concerning the public moneys and property of PNG, and such other functions as are prescribed by or under a Constitutional Law.

He is charged by Section 113 of the Organic Law on Provincial Government and
Local Level Government to conduct annual audits of the accounts of Provincial Government and Local Level Governments
and carry out -

• audit functions relating to the inspection and audit of the accounts of all governmental bodies including commercial statutory authorities in PNG

• Audit the accounts, monies, and properties o f Provincial Government and Local Level Governments

• Conduct performance audit of the officers of the public service and members of
the teaching service and all other state services assigned to PGLLGs.

Under Section 113(10) o f the Organic Law on PGLLGs, the Auditor-General may
prosecute offenders for any unlawful acts in connection with the affairs of the
Provincial Government and Local Level Government concerned.


Those rules and laws seem to suggest he does have the mandate and the power!

So it begs the question: What have the 110 auditors been doing for 8 years if no government entity is providing reports?

Why haven't any prime minister or ministers or MPs questioned the failure for eight years of the AG to submit annual reports?

Oh, I think I know why. Just read the media reports of corruption that has grown year on year on for decade now.

So well done auditor-general in standing up to point this out - KJ

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