The Auditor General, Junias Kandjeke, has said that the adverse report his office gave the Defense Ministry is not solely based on the competence of the auditor, but on the findings of the auditor based on information provided by the auditee.
This comes after the Minister of Defense, Peter Vilho, last week in parliament said that he was unimpressed with the quality of auditors sent by Kandjeke to inspect the military’s books.
“Let me state it categorically clear, that the audit opinion is not solely based on the competence of the auditor, but on the findings oThe Auditor General, Junias Kandjeke, has said that the adverse report his office gave the Defense Ministry is not solely based on the competence of the auditor, but on the findings of the auditor based on information provided by the auditee.f an auditor, accuracy, completeness of the information provided by the auditee. Omissions, misstatements, lack of proper record filing as well as accounting technical capacity in institutions is a challenge,” he told Windhoek Observer.
The office of the Auditor General, earlier this year revealed that the auditors sent to the Defense Ministry were blocked from auditing the total expenditure of N$506 million under operational equipment, machinery and plant by the military’s accounting officer.
Kandjeke, in his report said that due to the restrictions, the audit evidence he obtained was not sufficient and appropriate.
He told the Windhoek Observer that stakeholders including politicians should avoid statements deterring investors and creating unnecessary negative perceptions.
“Tax payers, investors and donors rely on assurance given by auditors on whether their money was used for the intended purpose. For this reason, there is a Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to review the reports of the Auditor General, conduct hearings and report their findings with recommendations to the Parliament.”
“Therefore, independence of auditors should be respected to avoid perception of interference. Accountability institutions must be strengthened to carry out their constitutional mandates without fear or favour.”
Kandjeke’s sentiments come after the Defense Minister accused the Auditor General’s office of sending inexperienced graduates, straight from the University of Namibia to review the ministry’s books.
“I want us to dispel the notion that the office of the auditor general is infallible. We should be able to separate the institution itself from the people that work in the institution,” Vilho was quoted in the media saying.
He further added, “What I have observed, the people that came to my ministry, these are very young people that I suppose just came straight from the university and then go into auditing. I think going forward the Auditor general should also look at employing people that have experience in public finance management. I’m not saying they should only employ those people but a mixture will help to teach the young people coming to the institution.”
The Auditor General confirmed to Windhoek Observer that his office has employed graduates straight from UNAM, NUST and other tertiary institutions, without experience, however defended his staff stating, “the staff allocated to audit the Ministry of Defense during the years ending 2018 and 2019 are very much qualified, experienced and competent. The team consisted of an Auditor (now Chief Auditor), Chief Auditor, Deputy Director and Director responsible for audit of Government Accounts with audit experiences ranging from 6, 14, 15 and 25 years, respectively. They have post-graduate and professional qualifications.”
Kandjeke stated that this was the same team that audited the two financial years of Ministry of Defense which have different audit opinions.
He added, “For 2018, both financial and compliance audit opinions were unqualified. However, for 2019 audit opinion on financial audit it was a disclaimer and on compliance audit, opinion was qualified.”