24 October 2007

Audit teams must be more efficient, says Ambrin

The Star

PUTRAJAYA: The internal audit teams in ministries and agencies must be more efficient in monitoring the management of public funds and uncovering abuses, particularly in the procurement process.

PUTRAJAYA: The head of the National Audit Department, Tan Sri Ambrin Buang said this had always been his advice to members of the internal audit teams.

However, he said the public must also understand that in the management within agencies and ministries, there were too many financial transactions taking place in a day.

"The management of funds may not just occur within one ministry or department, but involves multiple agencies and officers. In fact, what our department has uncovered in our report is merely the results of our survey based on randomly selected agencies.

"At present, many of the members of these internal audit teams are already officers from our department. However, from now on, you can expect more professional audits to sit in these teams," he told reporters during the Prime Minister's Department Hari Raya open house celebration here Wednesday.

He was responding to findings announced by the Anti-Corruption Agency on Tuesday in their investigations of the cases highlighted in the Auditor-General's Report 2006.

Ten civil servants were charged throughout the country while another five senior officers were expected to face disciplinary action.

ACA director-general Datuk Ahmad Said Hamdan also called for a preventive clause to be inserted in all government contracts, tender letters and agreements in the future as well as reviewing the procurement procedures now being practised by ministries and agencies.

Ambrin said he agreed with the ACA for the tightening of such loopholes so that these could not be exploited and for the insertion of the preventive clause.

"If such a clause can help reduce abuses, this should be considered by the Government and we should support it," he said.

Asked if the public could expect a "better" report for next year, Ambrin said it was still too early to say.

"I pray very hard that it will be better in terms of accountability and integrity next year," he said.

Later, Chief Secretary to the Government Tan Sri Mohd Sidek Hassan said his office would look into the kind of disciplinary action to be taken against the errant officers under the Public Officers Conduct and Discipline Regulations.

"We will have to wait for a formal report from the ACA on the matter before taking any action against them as we have to be fair," he said.

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