Audit probed

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By CLIFFORD FAIPARIK
THE Auditor-General’s Office has questioned who approved an international auditing firm to audit the awarding of contracts by the Health Department to pharmaceutical companies.
Acting Auditor-General Gordon Kega said his office should “sanction” the involvement of any private firm in the auditing of public funds.
“Under the Audit Act, we are supposed to sanction private auditors to audit public funds,” he said.
Kega said his office was not consulted when the Forensic Technologies International (FTI), a business advisory firm from the United States, was called in to carry out the audit after concerns were raised about the way AusAid funding was being used by the department to procure pharmaceutical supplies.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament also conducted a commission of inquiry into the AusAid funding complaint.
Kega said the FTI audited the Health Department “without our authorisation”.
“And that report has been given to the police to carry out investigations,” Kega said.
“But then the police have their own jurisdiction to investigate any information they (receive) from complainants.
“We are available to clarify our position (with police) on the sanctioning of private auditors such as the FTI.”
He distanced the office of the auditor-general from the auditing of Ausaid funding to procure pharmaceutical supplies.
Meanwhile, police said the work of the FTI had been approved by the Government and funded by AusAid.
Chief Inspector Joel Simatab said they had already received the FTI report and were awaiting the one from PAC chairman Sir John Pundari.
“The FTI report was sanctioned by the Department of Prime Minister and National Executive Council while the PAC report was sanctioned by Parliament,” he said.
The FTI and PAC conducted their enquiries in August last year.
“We received the FTI report first.
“Both enquires are similar but PAC has statutory powers to summon people, seize confidential documents from the banks, companies, service providers and Government departments,” he said.
He said the FTI “has no statutory power and so their report is not really in detail”.
“What they did was look into the tender of contracts, procurement, delivery of medical drugs and the lack of consultation between service providers and the provincial health authorities,” he said.
“PAC has the authority to go into detail.”
He said they had the same aim of finding out the processes of procuring medicines for the people of PNG.
“So while we are investigating the FTI report, we are mindful of the PAC report.
“Once we receive it from PAC, we will cross-check both recommendations (before we) conduct criminal investigations.”

5 comments

  • This is lack of coordination and consultation in Waigani. Interestingly the Health Dept HQ, PM& NEC, and Auditor Generals Office are all walking (& talking) distances from each other.

  • Acting Auditor-General Gordon Kega ,let them investigate the funds, are you hiding from the truth? if you are guilty then talk and hide, if not shut up, your team cant deliver reports,. FACT Are Facts, all must comply to PAC if you are summon to do so..Don’t hide behind from the truth, the fact is we pngean are arrogant when we are given all powers to use donor funding, seen here, Aus Aid smell something fishy that is why they call Forensic Technology International to check your spending.This is a Aust aid Fund and we PNG are end users of the fund.

  • The fact that these are AusAid funds places the jurisdiction outside of AG. However a little courtesy to advice the AG’s office would be in the best interest of keeping mutual spirits between the parties concerned.

  • Overseas funding misused. Let them account for it because they are rightful owner of funds. Don’t hide stories of your mis-handling of heartful giver.

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