Author: Annerie Pretorius, Senior Communication Manager, AFROSAI-E
Over 110 delegates from AFROSAI-E’s 26 member countries, partner institutions, and key stakeholders attended its 2022 Strategic Review and 18th Governing Board meeting. SAI The Gambia hosted the highly successful event from 9 to 12 May 2022 on the smiling coast of Africa.
In his opening remarks, the AFROSAI-E Chairperson, Mr Mohammed Ali (Auditor General of SAI Somalia), noted, “it is because of our highly engaged Board members that we have been able to forge ahead with implementing our strategic goals, albeit with different methods than planned. Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic showed how our region could mobilize its membership to help one another get through a major crisis together”.
The event included two days of thematic discussions on increasing accountability and reducing corruption through audits and, the independence of SAIs. The AFROSAI-E Secretariat also presented the outcomes of regional performance against its Strategic Plan for 2020 to 2024. Visit www.afrosai-e.org.za to read the 2021 Integrated Annual Report, the 2021 Monitoring and Evaluation Report and the 2021 State of the Region: Institutional Capacity Building Framework Self-Assessment Report.
The Governing Board Meeting Results in Productive Discussions
Members of the AFROSAI-E Governing Board met to deliberate on a range of topics affecting the region. A critical discussion centred on the need for SAIs to take the lead in identifying the priority areas where peer-to-peer support is most needed, considering their own capacity to absorb and implement the support. This is crucial to ensure that peer support leads to measurable and sustainable results.
SAI Ghana Wins the 2021 Best Performance Audit Report Prize
The Auditor General of the Swedish National Audit Office, Ms Helena Lindberg, announced the winner of the 2021 Prize during the opening ceremony. The prize is awarded annually to the best performance audit report in the region. The independent international review team unanimously declared the Ghana Audit Service report entitled “Provision of Flood Control Drains” as the winner. This award represents the pinnacle of excellence demonstrated by SAIs in the region in their efforts to develop the performance audit discipline. Ms. Meisie Nkau, AFROSAI-E CEO stated that, “The SAI of Ghana was our first prize winner in 2008, and they have shown tenacity, perseverance, and commitment to replicate the same hunger and enthusiasm by winning the prize in 2021. We are proud of this accomplishment and applaud the SAI for their dedication to performance audit.”
AFROSAI-E Research Increases Accountability and Reduces Corruption through Government Audits
The outcomes of the AFROSAI-E research and experience-sharing on COVID-19 audits and related SAI activities formed part of the theme discussion. The research results show:
- An increase in SAI disaster-related audits, with 88% of SAIs having performed such audits.
- Most audits done were in real-time.
- All audits were implemented as compliance and financial audits.
- Risk areas identified were both sectoral- and process-based.
- 80% of SAIs have already identified future audit subject matter areas.
The research results will be the basis of future regional capacity-building initiatives on SAI response to disaster situations.
A panel of experts deliberated on the role of SAIs to combat fraud and corruption through stronger collaboration with Anti-Corruption Authorities. The enhanced cooperation between the two accountability actors at a national level is a critical enabler in the fight against corruption. The panel members included Ms Munira Ali, the General Secretary of the Eastern Africa Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities (EAAACA), Ms Nancy Gathungu, the Auditor General of Kenya, and Mr Stephen Kateregga, the Assistant Auditor General of Uganda.
While Anti-Corruption Authorities and SAIs already collaborate informally when conducting investigations, particularly in cases of fraud, the panel members noted that a formal relationship would reduce the time gathering information for fraud investigations as there will be sharing of information at all stages. Where fraud exists, this will be established in the initial stages of investigations.
SAI Independence Enables Audit Impact
Mr Bubacarr Sankareh, the former Auditor General of the National Audit Office of The Gambia, delivered a stirring keynote address on leadership in Africa contributing to strengthening public sector audit institutions. He remarked that a responsible and responsive executive should be the leading champion and advocate for SAIs, not just in words but in demonstrated and consistent practice. Mr Bubacarr Sankareh stated that, “Public officials, whether elected or appointed, have a contract by law or a social contract with citizens/taxpayers that requires them to deliver public services and be accountable. It is, therefore, not only the duty of the executive to support SAIs, but it is also very smart to do so. The implications of a strong disconnect and low levels of trust in a government and how these can lead to social unrest and instability can be devastating for a country.”
In building on the vital message by Mr Sankareh, Mr Einar Gørrissen from the IDI spoke about the outcomes of the Global Stocktaking Report of 2020 related to SAI independence, specifically in the AFROSAI-E region. He further elaborated on the targeted support IDI provides to SAIs to respond to threats and breaches of their independence through the SAI Independence Rapid Advocacy Mechanism (SIRAM). The Auditor General of South Africa, Ms Tsakani Maluleke, shared the SAI’s’ experience in implementing the Public Audit Act in South Africa and reporting on their performance to demonstrate transparency of operations.
African Professionalisation Initiative Aims to Develop Capacity of Accountants Across Africa
The African public sector has a severe shortage of professional accountants and auditors. The API works to grow the capacity of accountants to have the competencies needed to be effective in an evolving public sector role. The API is a partnership between the accounting profession, accountants general, and SAIs from across Africa. The Head of the API, Mr Evans Mulera, gave an overview of the initiative’s value proposition. The Auditors General of Namibia, Mr Junias Kandjeke, and Botswana, Ms Pulane Letebele, also shared their perspectives on why they believed it was important for their SAIs to take a leading role in implementing the API in their countries. Visit https://professionalisation.africa/ to learn more about the API.
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