It can be recalled that a fortnight ago, new Auditor General Jackson, while officially presenting his vision to a cross section of Senior Managers of the GAC, under the theme: “Expanding Efficiency and Effectiveness” at the GAC, underscored the need for the full implementation of the Commission’s 2014 Act. He highlighted the need on regularizing the Annual Audit of the Consolidated Financial Statements, the Annual Audit of the GAC, the Bi- Annual Peer Review of the Commission and the preparation of Annual Activities Report to the Legislature.
In his power point presentation to the Senior Management, Auditor General Jackson also outlined as part of his vision the adoption of proactive approaches in the work of the Commission to include enforcement of compliance with the country’s financial management and assurance laws through collaboration with other Anti-Graft institutions. Inclusive in the proactive approaches, he further highlighted the need to incentivize the mandatory preparation of financial statements from Government entities through the Office of the Comptroller & Accountants General of Liberia and the subsequent presentation of those reports to the General Auditing Commission (GAC).
He added that an annual technical review of the Draft National Budget by the GAC will aid the Legislature in its review and passage of the budget. AG Jackson also highlighted the need to expand audit efficiency through the advancement of information, communication and technology at the GAC. He indicated that the introduction of an audit software will enhance quality, consistency and expedite planning, execution and reporting of audits. Relative to capacity building, Auditor General Jackson has opted to prioritize both experienced based initiatives as well as continue the professional certification programs for auditors.
For the experienced based capacity building initiatives, the Auditor General promised to explore second opportunities for GAC’s auditors at Supreme Audit Institutions of larger countries in the sub-region and participation in joint audits with international firms, both of which will facilitate knowledge transfer to GAC Auditors. He noted that the conduct of periodic Peer Review will aid the Commission in correcting the gaps and that external trainings will also be prioritized during his tenure in office. In closing, the Auditor General emphasized the need to galvanize additional resources for the Commission to facilitate the implementation of his vision.
He noted that lobbying for additional budgetary support through the Legislature and revamping the Project Office at the Commission to adequately source donor funding will be actively pursued. Mr. P. Garswa Jackson, Sr, who officially took office on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, is a Certified Public Accountant with over seventeen (17) years of Public and Private Sectors audit and financial management experience and brings a worth of local and international knowledge to the General Auditing Commission.
In a related development, the GAC has clarified that the Auditor General has commissioned an audit of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation (LWSC) for three fiscal years covering the periods July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2021. The audit was requested by the Office of the President of Liberia consistent with the GAC Act of 2014. he audit was officially commissioned by the Auditor General through facilitating an initial meeting with the LWSC’s Management on July 28, 2021 and subsequently issued an Audit Engagement Letter detailing the terms and conditions of the ongoing audit on August 12, 2021.
The audit is expected to be concluded and a report issued to the National Legislature with a copy to the President by the end of November 2021, in line with the GAC Act of 2014. In addition to the request for a comprehensive audit of the LWSC, the Office of the President also requested that the GAC audits the USD $99,000.00 (Ninety-Nine Thousand United States Dollars) transaction related to a service contract payment at LWSC. This audit will be conducted alongside the comprehensive audit.
The GAC has requested information related to these transactions, specifying a deadline for submission of information by close of business on Thursday, August 18, 2021 to enable the Commission report on the transactions by next Friday, August 27, 2021. Meanwhile, the GAC assured the public of its outmost commitment to demonstrate integrity, independence and professionalism during this audit and in all its functions for the promotion of transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.