Awareness : Speaking to more than a hundred officials, local leaders, sector heads, school principals and regional heads, auditor general Tshering Kezang urged audited agencies to refrain from providing free facilities and VIP treatment to auditing officials.

This request was made during an advocacy and sensitisation programme on the Royal Audit Authority’s (RAA) mandates, roles and responsibilities, and international standard of supreme audit institutions (ISSIAI) implementation initiatives held at the Tencholing military centre in Wangdue yesterday.

Participants were also familiarised on the financial resources management and accountability index.

RAA officials said some of the allegations made against the RAA includes auditors getting free facilities, accommodation, food, and vehicles when they arrive to audit. Collusion with finance personnel and engineers and having to provide VIP treatment, were also some of the accusations made against the auditors, apart from paid holidays and many other demands.

He said both the parties would be penalised if found guilty of being involved in such practices. The auditor general said in most cases people accused audit officials of such practices.

For example, in 2015, one of the gewogs in Wangdue accused the audit officials for going on a picnic and demanding free facilities. “We even investigated the issue but it was found to be a false accusation,” he said.

In most cases, audited agencies take it as their responsibility to serve the auditing officials and provide them with all required facilities which is not required, said the auditor general. “Therefore, we have come up with advocacy and awareness programmes to make both audit officials and audited agencies including local governments to refrain from such practices that is not inline with the code of ethics,” he said.

The auditor general also said that both audit officials and audited agencies have to follow the auditor general’s standing instructions and 16-principles code of ethics. Audit officials should carry out auditing without fear, favour and prejudice, said the auditor general.

Tshering Kezang said: “We have been accused in the past that audits only point out flaws and lapses of the agencies, and never focus on those agencies that perform well. Therefore, we will also focus on good performers among the agencies henceforth.”

The advocacy programme has been conducted in Haa, Paro and Thimphu so far. In Wangdue, the team has provided the programme for monks, civil servants, local government and other officials, and also to the armed forces, as of yesterday.

The RAA is also attempting to audit training and workshop opportunities taken by the civil servants and others, officials said. This is to curb any unfairness in providing training and workshop opportunities among the employees.

Auditor general Tshering Kezang, speaking to Kuensel said that RAA has completed the annual auditing of the Punatsangchhu Hydropower Project Authority-I and II, and the reports would be presented to the National Assembly on December 6.

He said the main findings of PHPA projects were about cost escalations and the consultancies that have not carried out work properly, while the general findings will be shared publicly when it is presented at the National Assembly.

Dawa Gyelmo | Wangdue