Philipsburg – The General Audit Chamber issued its annual report for the year 2016 this week. By law, the General Audit Chamber must present a report of its activities about the preceding year to both the Governor and Parliament prior to July 1st each year. Each member of Parliament received a copy of the annual report 2016 in both the Dutch and English language on Monday, June 12th. Mr. Ronald Halman presented the Governor with copies of the annual report on Thursday afternoon.
The annual report includes a review of the significant information arising from audits conducted in 2016. The General Audit Chamber also provides a description of its operations and gives account for the use of its budget of fiscal year 2016.
In the report, the General Audit Chamber provides summaries of all the executed audits over the year and expresses concern about the progress within government in terms of improving shortcomings that have been identified.
“While we recognize that no situation is ideal, we are becoming increasingly concerned about the lack of urgency in addressing the deficiencies within the public sector, and specifically public finance”, the report states. The General Audit Chamber goes on to state that they have not detected noteworthy improvement. “While plans to address weaknesses or deficiencies are drafted by government, the implementation is found wanting”, according to the General Audit Chamber.
In 2016, the General Audit Chamber was forced to deal with a worrisome phenomenon; one that the institution hopes will not become standard practice. The annual report states that there was a lack of cooperation and/or refusal to provide adequate information to the General Audit Chamber during two separate audits in 2016. The report provides more details about this situation by stating that “our requests for information were either ignored or the provision of documentation was delayed, inadequate, or both”.
Given that the job of the institution is researching and identifying the areas where change is needed, the General Audit Chamber cautions that when attempts are made, deliberate or otherwise, to constrain their ability to conduct their task, the system of checks and balances of the Country is disrupted.
“There is more at stake than an audit; without proper oversight, our system of democratic government can become compromised and the public trust will weaken”.
The General Audit Chamber is hopeful about the future. “The challenges of the public sector are not insurmountable “, according to the institution. However, a concentrated effort must be made by government and Parliament to address the challenges.
The report is published in both English and Dutch and is available on the website of the General Audit Chamber (www.arsxm.org).