International Journal of Government Auditing – July 2012
The Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India hosted the 12th ASOSAI Assembly February 29, 2012, to March 3, 2012, in Jaipur, India. The assembly was bracketed by meetings of the ASOSAI Secretary General, the training administrator, the INTOSAI Development Initiative (IDI), and the 44th ASOSAI Governing Board. More than 180 delegates from 42 countries participated in the assembly. At its opening, H.E. Shivraj V. Patil, the governor of Rajasthan, noted that the countries represented constituted two-thirds of the people on earth. In addition to the many country delegates and observers, attendees included Terence Nombembe, Chair of INTOSAI; Josef Moser, INTOSAI General Secretary; and Helena Lopez, representative of the EUROSAI President.
The triennial assembly began with an opening ceremony featuring remarks from the governor and chief minister of Rajasthan; Vinod Rai, Comptroller and Auditor General of India and incoming ASOSAI chair; and Muhammad Akhtar Buland Rana, outgoing ASOSAI chair and Auditor-General of Pakistan, as well as reports of activities since the previous meeting.
During the opening ceremony, Mr. Nombembe highlighted the need for a central focus on strengthening human resources that will enable SAIs to improve analytic and diagnostic capabilities. While acknowledging that human resource development requires a long-term investment, he stated that it could be inexpensive and relatively easy to implement, through the use of initiatives such as twinning, secondments, and fellowships.
Dr. Moser reported on the United Nations General Assembly’s adoption of the resolution on the independence of SAIs, which expressly recognizes that SAIs are most effective if they are independent and protected from outside influence. Among other things, the resolution encourages member states and organizations to apply the principles of the Lima and Mexico Declarations.
Ms. Lopez stressed that SAIs, as watchdogs of public interest, are expected to intensify their audit activities to enhance ethics in public life and contribute to fighting against fraud and corruption.
Within ASOSAI, significant recent activities over the past 3 years include the adoption of the ASOSAI Strategic Plan 2011–2015, along with an action plan to guide its implementation. A midterm evaluation of the plan focused on its three strategic goals (institutional capacity building, knowledge sharing, and knowledge service). The evaluation showed that the plan has been well implemented to date.
Capacity-building programs have been offered to member SAIS, including three ASOSAI-sponsored workshops on performance, environmental, and public debt auditing. IDI-ASOSAI cooperation launched two programs: Quality Assurance in Performance Audit in 2010 and Development and Implementation of the Strategic Plan in 2011. As of the assembly date, two workshops had been organized for each program.
ASOSAI has sponsored seminars on how to strengthen internal controls in SAIs and how to integrate ethics and integrity into SAI auditing practices. ASOSAI also established cooperation with the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) in 2010 for the benefit of Southeast Asian SAIs.
The ninth ASOSAI research project on Evaluation and Improvement of Internal Audit Systems and the Relationship between the Internal Audit Units and SAIs has been completed. The results of the research will help ASOSAI members make the best use of both INTOSAI GOV 9140, Internal Audit Independence in the Public Sector, and INTOSAI GOV 9150, Coordination and Cooperation between SAIs and Internal Auditors in the Public Sector.
ASOSAI communication tools have been evolving and serve as a robust source of information for ASOSAI activities. An interactive site permits members to upload news and articles to the website on their own initiative. In addition, new functions for online registrations and surveys have streamlined the administrative aspect of capacity-building activities. The Asian Journal of Government Audit (ASOSAI’s journal) is published biannually (April and October) in English and serves as ASOSAI’s official knowledge-sharing platform; new columns have been added and the Journal receives a steady flow of quality articles. The ASOSAI journal award for 2009 to 2011 went to Dr. Batbayar Badamdorj from the SAI of Mongolia for his article entitled “Some Thoughts on the Role of Government Auditing.”
Since 2000, ASOSAI has been holding symposia that are intended to share knowledge and experiences on various topics that will enhance the capacity and effectiveness of SAIs. At this assembly, the 5th Symposium was held, featuring the topic Assimilating the International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI). The symposium featured keynotes by India and INTOSAI’s Professional Standards Committee, represented by Sweden, as well as special reports by the SAIs of China and Russia and a panel presentation by the SAIs of Australia, Bhutan, Cyprus, and Pakistan. The SAI of Kazakhstan and IDI made a presentation, and the SAI of Vietnam contributed a paper that was not presented.
The 13th ASOSAI Assembly will be hosted by the SAI of Malaysia in 2015, and the SAI of Korea will continue to serve as Secretary General for ASOSAI.
The General Assembly approved five SAIs (Bangladesh, China, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia) as members of the Governing Board for 2012–2015. In addition, Turkey and Jordan were selected to serve on the Audit Committee.
For additional information, contact Jagbans Singh, Director General (International Relations Division), the SAI of India, at SinghJ@cag.gov.in.A full report and photos are available on the assembly website at www.12asosaiassembly.org.