30th May, 2013
The Auditor General of Sierra Leone, Mrs Lara Taylor-Pearce, was among 24 Auditors-General who attended the 10th annual meeting of the Governing Board of the African Organisation of English Speaking Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI- E) at the Sugar Beach Hotel in Mauritius from the 6th – 10th May, 2013. She attended the programme with one of her Deputies, Mrs. Adama Renner, Deputy Auditor General, Finance and Corporate Services.
There were other participants from institutional partners in Scandinavia, Europe and Canada, as well as observers from various institutions such as the World Bank, United Nations, the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions and the INTOSAI Development Initiative who attended the meeting.
The President of Mauritius, Mr. Rajkeswur Purryag launched the programme during the opening ceremony. In his keynote address, President Purryag, said that the meeting came at an opportune time in the midst of the global debate on the financial crisis which had brought to the forefront the role of the auditing profession in upholding public trust. He pointed out that openness, transparency and accountability are the cornerstones of the audit sector, adding that the NAO of Mauritius is a pillar upon which the foundation of democracy is embedded.
He highlighted that democratic accountability is an essential characteristic of any approach to hold Government institutions to account. He added that independent Supreme Audit Institutions (SAI) were central to upholding the values such as accountability underpinned by democratic principles and traditions. “The independence and objectivity of the director of audit is essential and the population wants a Government that will spare no efforts in serving its citizens in the best manner within established rules and regulations”, said President Purryag.
He also made mention of the adoption by Mauritius of the principle of Programme-based budgeting which has been introduced in a bid to attain greater accountability in public expenditure. Referring to the SAIs, the President highlighted that these institutions not only promote the principles of good governance but also play a crucial role in upholding them and the preparation of the Communication Strategy Document.
The Deputy Auditor General, Finance and Corporate Service, Mrs. Adama Renner informed ASSL that the main presentations were centred on Communication Practices, both External and Internal adding that presentations were made by keynote speakers followed by group discussions and plenary sessions. She noted that External Communication Practices focused on communications between the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) and the Public Affairs Committees (PACs).
Commenting on the way forward to some of the challenges that were identified, she mentioned the production of clear and concise reports, building the capacity of PAC Members, attendance of representatives of SAIs at Public Hearings and communication of Risk Assessment reports to PAC.
On the issue of Internal Communication Practices, she said that the major issues that were identified included: lack of basic infrastructure, mistrust between senior managers and junior staff, capacity of staff and the résistance to change.