A meticulous investigation conducted by the Independent And Authoritative Heritage has established that there is no money in the General Auditing Commission (GAC) 2012/2013 approved budget to conduct audits of the more than 350 audits the GAC is required to conduct on an annual basis.
According to our investigation, the Legislature approved US$6, 175, 063 as the operating budget of the GAC for the 2012/2013 fiscal year. Included in this amount as core budget, our investigation says, are employee compensation of US$4,715,625, Goods and Services of US$433,300.
Also included as projects budget in contingency are US$249,338 for the acquiring of land, survey and architectural design of the new GAC National headquarters and US$500,000 in contingency for the payroll audit commission of all Government of Liberia payroll that are drawn on the consolidated fund.
The US$500,000, our investigation finds out, appears inadequate given that there are some 59,000 civil servants employed by Government. The approved budget, our investigation discovers, is in contrast to the GAC’s draft budget of US$6,528,772 submitted by the Minister of Finance, Amara Konneh to the Legislature for the 2012/2013 fiscal year which included USD$750,000 for audits and 276,000 for IT Data systems.
Our investigation further discovers that this is the first time the audit service has been eliminated in the budget. But our investigation could not establish whether it was the Executive or Legislature who eliminated the audit service in the Commission’s budget.
The review of the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 budgets show that during the 2010/2011 fiscal year the Legislature approved US$1,008,199 for audits and provided US$297,000 for audit during the 2011/2012 fiscal year, excluding personnel services, goods and services and capital projects.
The elimination of money for audits suggests that the GAC has no money to conduct critical audits like the County and Social Development Funds in the 15 counties. Also, to conduct audits of the Government ministries and agencies which have operations around the country.
Meanwhile, it remains to be seen whether this was an error either on the part of Legislature or the Executive, which could be corrected by the Government making money available from the general claims budget or a deliberate attempt to undermine the fight against fraud, waste and abuse of public resources by the first branch of Government.