AG’s report provokes real attention

| 07/08/2008

(CNS): Aside from the public’s right to know, Auditor General Dan Duguay’s aim in producing his recent report into government financial accountability was to focus attention on what he described as “a deplorable situation” within public sector accounting and to begin to address the issue. Today, both the Governor, Stuart Jack, and the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Osborne Bodden (left), came out in support.of the report. 

Aside from the public’s right to know Dan Duguay, the Auditor General’s aim in producing the report entitled The State of Financial Accountability Reporting, was to focus attention on what he described as “a deplorable situation,” within public sector accounting and to begin to address the issue.  In the wake of extensive media coverage on the details of the report, today, both the Governor and the Chair of the Public Accounts Committee came out in support of Dan Duguay’s report. 

The Governor, Stuart Jack, said audited financial statements were important with regards to good governance, and on behalf of the committee, Osborne Bodden, MLA for Bodden Town, said he and his colleagues acknowledged the long-standing problem with the lack of timely financial statements.

“The PAC also wishes to stress the importance of timely financial information and compliance with the Public Management and Finance Law,” he said. Bodden explained that the PAC will begin examining the problem in early September with a hearing to call witness testimony from a wide array of senior public officers, including Chief Secretary George McCarthy,  Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, as well as Chief Officers and Chief Financial Officers.

“Whilst the Auditor General’s report paints a dismal picture, the PAC’s focus will be onsolutions,” he said. The PAC had advised the Auditor General to continue to provide a reasonable timeframe for clients to provide feedback to its audit findings, but if they failed to meet deadlines he should offer an opinion on the statements, Bodden added.  

The Governor noted that while there may have been reasons the delays, they could no longer be allowed to continue and said he welcomed the efforts underway to resolve this issue. He expected Chief Officers and Chief Financial Officers of all government entities to give the highest priority to quick progress towards meeting the requirements of the law and of financial accountability to the Legislative Assembly. 

Duguay said that he was pleased his report had provoked the attention needed to address this problem and that his main goal now was to work with and help as many people as possible to get their financial statements in order.

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