ST May 26, 2007
Watchdog wants more regular audits
LAPSES at the Economic Development Board (EDB), including its financial operations, have prompted a parliamentary watchdog to urge the Auditor-General (AG) to give it more regular audits.
The Public Accounts Committee, made up of eight MPs, noted that the lapses were spotted when the 46-year-old agency underwent its first audit by the AG.
The audit led to 'a large number of observations'' that the EDB had not established proper
internal control procedures, the committee said in a report presented to Parliament on Thursday.
However, the committee was 'encouraged'' by a letter it got from the EDB outlining the prompt action taken to address these lapses.
Every year, the committee pores over the financial statements of government agencies and the AG's annual report and seeks written explanations from agencies concerned. It then reports on the irregularities involving the use of public funds.
The EDB lapses involve mainly the way the agency is run and its financial operations, including its procurement and accounting systems.
The committee noted, among others, that EDB had delegated power to staff to grant loans and to borrow without reporting back to its governing board.
'Such practices were not in compliance with the law,' said the committee, which is headed by MP Cedric Foo.
More details from Reuters.
Frankly, what I find most shocking about this whole matter is not that the EDB has lapses in its "governance structure, financial operations, procurement and accounting systems" (as reported by Reuters).
The most shocking thing, to me, is that this is the first time the Auditor-General of Singapore has audited the EDB, in 46 years.
I wonder how many other government agencies or statutory boards there might be in Singapore, that the Auditor-General hasn't audited even once, in the past 5, 10, 15 or 20 years.
Who knows how many other NKFs we might discover.
What HAS the Auditor-General been doing?