General Auditing Commission Reechoes Warning on Politicizing Audit Reports

Yusador Saadatu Gaye, Auditor General, General Auditing Commission – Liberia

MONROVIA – It seems that the repeated warnings by authorities of the General Auditing Commission (GAC) regarding the ‘politicization’ of Commissioned GAC Audit Reports continue to fall on deaf ears, as the unprofessional act remains unabated. 

In recent  stakeholders’ engagements in Monrovia regarding the work of the Commission,  the Auditor General of the GAC, Madam Yusador Saadatu Gaye,  is on record of constantly  warning public officials, pro-democracy and civil society organizations,  and the public against  ‘politicizing’ audit  reports, especially  audit reports that  are in their concluding  stages. 

According to Auditor General  Gaye, ‘politicizing’ Audit Reports greatly undermines the work of the GAC, which was established in 2011 with a vision to create a world-class Supreme Audit Institution(SAI) that holds people and institutions accountable for their stewardship of public resources and programs.  Liberia has a history of high-level of corruption in the public sector. Cited as a contributing factor to the protracted civil war, this has had a devastating impact on the economy and resulted in failed governing systems where accountability and transparency are non-existent.  

Against this backdrop, authorities of the GAC had unremittingly stated that if the Commission must success in its fight against corruption in the public sector, ‘all  hands must be on deck’, meaning that the fight against the menace-corruption should be everyone’s business and nothing must be done to undermine it either from the GAC or institutions and individuals audited, as this is a  ‘bad sign for Liberia’s democracy’. 

“There are times some public officials use the GAC audit reports through purported civil society groups to settle scores with their perceived enemies within and out of the government at the detriment of GAC and the very government they serve or once served. They get preliminary audit findings, sneaked them to media and the media too considering the news angles of the audit reports make big headlines of them.,”  an official of the GAC, speaking on condition anonymity at the weekend,  asserted.   

“In fact, one of the main objectives of the audit is to fix the system and put things place in order to make it work effectively and not to target people as it is being perceived by some people,  including politicians,” accentuated the GAC official.   

 The GAC official, who made specific reference to the GAC Audit Management Letter which  was  reportedly sent to the National Lottery Authority(NLA)  Management a fortnight ago  for official  response,  averred that  the  audit on the NLA has been ‘politicized’ on account that the  institution being audited has already  been indicted in the court of public opinion  when the   audit in question has not been finalized. 

The NLA is clothed with the authority to supervise games of chance which have been listed as including raffles, numbers games, casinos, slot machines or promotional competitions or any scheme, system or arrangement that results in the distribution of a prize by chance.

The GAC Management Letter, which has been leaked to media, covers the years 2015 – 2019. 

Meanwhile,  the Board  Chairman of the (NLA,  Mr. Titus Charlie, has said he has not seen or received a copy of the GAC Audit Management  Letter which was reportedly sent to the NLA’s Management a fortnight ago for official response.

According to media reports, the GAC did not send the NLA  Board Chairman Charlie a formal communication prior and after the Management Letter was sent concerning the ongoing audit of the NLA,   and therefore, he said could not comment on media inquiries about the said audit.

Among other things, the media reports added that while the NLA Board Chair wholeheartedly welcomes  the audit of the NLA in keeping with  accountability and transparency, he pointed out that it would  have been  prudent  had the GAC formally  informed him and other members of the board about the audit , but regrettably,  this never happened as it is traditionally done when conducting audits.