Audit Chamber begins first regularity audit

POSTED: 11/29/11 7:40 AM

Chairman of the General Audit Chamber Roland Tuitt

St. MaartenChairman of the General Audit Chamber Roland Tuitt announced the start of the field work in the first regularity audit on Monday. The start of the information gathering and review follows presentations to the seven ministries and the other High Councils of State – The Council of Advice and Ombudsman – between November 23 and November 28. The audit covers personnel expenditures.

The audit comprises of staffers from Berenschot and staffers of the Audit Chamber. During the information dissemination period they met with the management of the seven ministries, the secretariat of Parliament, the secretariat of the Council of Ministers, the ombudsman, and the Advisory Council to present information such as including the plan of action and scheduling for the actual audit activities. The entities have pledged to provide their full corporation.

“As an institution authorized by law to investigate the efficiency and lawfulness of revenues and expenditure of the government of St. Maarten, it is important that the process is professional and transparent. As such, our presentation to the various entities included a clear explanation of the audit question that we seek to answer,” Tuitt stated.

The main question will be answered in several phases where the following detailed elements will be reviewed: Are the payments of employee wages lawful and correct? Are employee records well organized and salary scales correctly applied according to the job descriptions and is the administrative organization/ process for payment of wages up to date?

“It is important in the early phases of the building of Country St. Maarten that fundamental information is available. Equally important is that areas for improvement can be identified.

Personnel expenditures represent a significant portion of the annual budget of government, and hence it is important that these expenditures are executed correctly and in accordance with law. Furthermore, after undergoing such a complex constitutional and organizational transition from island territory to country status, it is critical to determine whether the results are in line with the relevant legislation. This audit will provide an important baseline for future development”, Tuitt remarked.

The Regularity Audit on Personnel Expenditures will be executed in phases. The first step related to the legal construct or framework has already been completed. In this phase a review of relevant legislation was conducted to ascertain if each entity was established and is operating based on a correct legal basis. In the coming weeks, the audit team will review personnel files. In January and February 2012, the team will conduct the financial audit, whereby calculations related to salary and compensation will be reviewed. During that same period the team will investigate the internal control procedures before the findings are integrated and discussed in consultation with the management of the various entities.

“Once this process is completed, the recommendations and conclusions will be sent in draft to the ministers or boards of the entities for consultation. A final report to Parliament that will also be published for public consumption is expected in the second quarter of 2012,” Tuitt announced.

The General Audit Chamber was established on October 10, 2010, and has been working on its institutional development in the last year while preparing for the conduct of its core business, i.e. the execution of audits.

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