Prior to Seychelles gaining independence in June 1976, the Director of Audit was appointed by the Governor for the auditing of public accounts. The Director of Audit was required under Section 10 (1) of Ordinance No 10 of 1972 (cited as the Audit Ordinance, 1972) to prepare and submit to the Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance within nine months, after the close of each financial year, a report upon his examination and audit of all accounts relating to public moneys, stamps, securities, stores and other government property, together with certified copies of the accounts. The Financial Secretary was then required to lay such report on the table of the Legislative Assembly within 30 days of its receipt by him.
In the First Schedule of the Seychelles Constitution Order, 1975, an amendment was made requiring the Director of Audit to transmit his annual report to the Minister responsible for Finance. Section 97 (4) of Decree No 13 of 1979 made a further amendment requiring the Director of Audit to transmit his annual report directly to the National Assembly. In 1990, under the Constitution Amendment Act, 1990, the post title Director of Audit was amended to Auditor General although the Office remained a Department in the President’s Office. The 1994 Constitution of Seychelles confirmed the independence of the Auditor General and provided him powers to audit the public accounts of Seychelles. During the latter part of 2001, the Office was officially renamed Office of the Auditor General. In July 2010, the Auditor General Act, 2010 was enacted to repeal and replace the Audit Act 1972 and to legally establish the Office as the Office of the Auditor General.
The main aim for the enactment of the audit legislation in 2010 was to provide for the independent operation of the OAG in accordance with internationally recognized auditing standards. The enhanced independence brought with it operational powers and responsibilities such as (i) powers to recruit and manage its own staff, (ii) making the OAG fully accountable to the National Assembly through reporting on its own accounts, (iii) powers to levy audit fees and to contract out audit work and, (iv) a mandated requirement to undertake performance audit and other audit methodologies.
Under the legal and constitutional provisions, the OAG is provided with the mandate to audit and report on the accounts of the Cabinet Office, the National Assembly, all Government departments and offices, all courts and those related to moneys withdrawn from the Consolidated Fund, all the accounts of any statutory corporation or such other body as may be specified by or under an Act. Although the annual audit of the Government financial statements remains the core business of the OAG, the enhanced role of the OAG envisaged in the 2010 enactment of the Act and the ongoing reform in the public financial management brought with it greater challenges requiring additional resources and technical support.
The OAG is mandated to carry out regulatory, financial and performance audits. To enhance the quality of audits and ensuring compliance to INTOSAI auditing standards, auditing manuals have been developed for both the regularity and performance auditing. The AFROSAI-E Regularity Manual was customized in 2013 with financial assistance from the European Union and the manual rolled out in early 2014. The development of Performance Audit in 2011 also saw the development of a performance audit manual which is compliant to the auditing standards of INTOSAI. The development of an Information Technology (IT) audit and Quality Control and Assurance functions is planned and would require additional human resource and technical support to facilitate development.
The OAG, having a total staff strength of 36, assists the Auditor General in carrying out his audit mandate through two main divisions. The Administration and Support division, headed by the Director Administration, provides financial and administrative support whereas the Operations division headed by the Deputy Auditor General (DAG) is responsible for carrying out audits as per the annual audit programme for each audit cycle of April to March. An internal review of the organizational structure of the OAG is contemplated to reposition the Office to enable it to meet the new challenges and trends emerging in public sector auditing, the ongoing public financial management reform and the growing expectations of OAG stakeholders.