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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

GOSS official warns against leniency on internal financial reports

By Ngor Arol Garang

June 5, 2010 (TURALEI) — A key official in the regional Government of Southern Sudan(GOSS) has warned of punitive action against senior administrators who fail to respond to internal queries and monitor effective use of public resources.

Salvatore Garang Mabior, First Undersecretary in the regional Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning has in an official circular extended to Sudan Tribune, on Saturday, urged that the continued allegations of mishandling of funds by public officers is not a result of the absence of financial systems, but rather the inability of some controlling officers to diligently implement existing financial management systems to enforce existing financial rules and regulations.

In recent times, whenever a financial report is released, it has been a litany of public resource, mismanagement and frequent outright theft. This picture is not only in the internal financial report alone but often in the media and it is not surprising that the general view of the public is that no systems exist in the government to guarantee financial accountability.

“The perception is that if any systems exist, then they must be extremely weak or porous or both. But from my knowledge of the public service, I do not agree with this because all systems are in place but the lack of monitoring systems by those charged with this responsibility,” he said.

He added that all undersecretaries and director generals for administration and finances should desist from delegating duties to juniors as this has the potentials to weaken the monitoring systems.

“The controlling officers should take full charge of their ministries;” he said, adding that the government has effective accounting systems and manpower, adding that this is the reason why internal auditors are able to detect misuse.

He said the Public Finance Act of 2009 and the financial regulations provide clear guidance to the public servants who manage the financial systems.

He further stressed that ministers and undersecretaries should strive to effectively respond to internal audit queries and the controlling officers should be quick to respond. In most cases, senior officials are too relaxed to respond to internal audit queries until the queries are spotted by the Auditor-General and they have to face the committee.

He said the creation of audit committees to support audit functions is an important policy response to address weaknesses identified and they should be recognized as an important part of modern control structures and good governance practices.