COMMISSION OF INQUIRY (INTERIM) REPORT SUBMITTED TO THE PRESIDENT OF REPULBIC

Auditor General, Mr Gamini Herath, who also served as Chairman on the commission of inquiry into the disposal of assets of COSPROH, submitted an interim report on 24.06.2020 to H.E. President of the Republic of Seychelles. The report was submitted under Section 8 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

The commission of inquiry was set up in August 2018, based on a resolution passed in the National Assembly, to look into the disposal of immovable properties of the former state company ‘Compagine Seychelloise de Promotion Hoteliere’, better known as COSPROH.

 

Performance Audit report

Management of the Fuel Incentive Scheme

Seychelles Fishing Authority

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) has laid its 9th performance audit report before the National Assembly in February 2020. The report examines the effectiveness of the Fuel Incentive Scheme as operated by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) for the period January 2015 to August 2019.

Since its initiation in 1991, the FIS has been under the management of SFA with the objective to reduce the operating costs of boat owners involved in commercial fishing activities and to improve the viability and profitability of their fishing operations. Under the scheme, boat owners are able to receive 100 percent Excise Tax exemption on the amount of fuel consumed by their vessels during their fishing operations. Presently, the commercial boat owners involved in Artisanal, Semi-industrial, Dropline and Sea Cucumber fishing activities are eligible to benefit from the scheme.

The Seychelles public sector is now equipped with the knowledge to prevent, detect and investigate frauds and corrupt practices. The applicable methodology and techniques drawn on from international good practices have been documented in a manual titled ‘Seychelles Public Sector Fraud Awareness and Forensic Audit Manual’. A copy of the manual was presented to President Danny Faure on Friday the 6th December by Auditor General, Mr. Gamini Herath. The manual is the final product of a six-week-long project undertaken by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) with the financial assistance from the US Embassy in Mauritius under the FTIF. The project was undertaken during October and November with the participation of over 50 participants from several public entities, namely, Financial Intelligence Unit, Seychelles Revenue Commission, Financial Services Authority, Anti- Corruption Commission Seychelles, Internal Audit Division of Ministry of Finance and Public Enterprise Monitoring Commission.

Funded by the US Embassy in Mauritius under the Fiscal Transparency Innovative Fund (FTIF), the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) organized a series of workshops during October and November 2019 aimed at increasing awareness of fraud and corruption in the public sector in Seychelles. The project, which brought together over 50 participants from 7 different public bodies, included sessions of awareness augmentation and practical training in forensic auditing as a tool to combat such malpractices. The project also resulted in the production of a manual to guide public officers in the prevention and identification of fraudulent practices and fighting the same, where they exist, through the methodology outlined in the manual.

The training and workshops were attended by over 50 staff from OAG, SRC, FIU, IAD, PEMC, ACCS and FSA.

The launching of the manual held on 28 October 2019, at Eden Blue Hotel, was attended by the Deputy Head of Mission from the US Embassy, the Minister for Finance, Trade and Economic Planning, several members of National Assembly, several CEOs and other invited guests numbering over seventy-five persons. The keynote speech was delivered by the Minister for Finance, Mr Lalanne, followed by the welcome remarks by the Auditor General. The Deputy Head of Mission also addressed the gathering. The manual was launched by Auditor General, Gamini Herath, by handing over copies of the same to the Minister for Finance and the Deputy Head of the Mission, Ms. Judes E Debaere.

Mr. Kenneth Racombo, Principal Secretary in the Office of the Vice President, led the Seychelles delegation to the Extraordinary meeting of the COMESA Council of Ministers that took place on 5th April 2019 in Lusaka, Zambia. The Extraordinary Council was convened in an effort for member states to pronounce on a number of pertinent matters concerning the institution, in particular, the external auditing framework (COBEA) and the resultant audit report for 2017 and the report of the select committee thereon.

The Council of Ministers undertook a minute of silence in respect and remembrance of the late President France Albert Rene and other persons who have passed on since the beginning of the year.

As part of his deliberations to the meeting, PS Racombo intervened on the need to develop COMESA’s Blue Economy agenda as set within the COMESA Strategic Plan 2016-2020. The Seychelles delegation requested that COMESA facilitate a workshop to advocate and sensitize member states on the Blue Economy with the objective of devising concrete activities for the region.

The meeting, which was preceded by the Meeting of the COMESA Intergovernmental Committee from 3 to 4 April 2019, further managed to pave a way forward for upcoming engagements between the COMESA Secretariat, Member States and other International Cooperating Partners, ahead of the upcoming Ordinary Meeting of the COMESA Council of Ministers and the Summit of COMESA Heads of State and Government that are scheduled to take place in the latter part of the year.

The meeting of Auditors General was called by the Secretariat to review and approve the COBEA audit charter. The Charter is to guide the two parties, i.e. the Secretariat and the COBEA on their respective rights and obligations when undertaking external audits of COMESA. The development of the Charter is an important step in the advancement of the road map approved in March 2018 by the Auditors General to give effect to the Council of Ministers decision to change the existing external auditing arrangements in that the audits were undertaken by private auditors up to 2016.

The COBEA become operational and undertook the audit of COMESA financial statements for 2017 in 2018. The resultant audit report was qualified and the management letter revealed a number of control weaknesses and irregularities. The management did find faults with the audit process and declined to accept the report in saying that it was given time to respond to audit queries nor was a draft report produced prior to issuing the final report.  Due to the nature of serious disagreements between COBEA and the Secretariat, a select committee was appointed by the Council to look into the matter and the Committee issued a report in October 2018 following deliberations. Despite the select committee recommendation to adopt the audit report on 2017 financial statements, the Secretariat caused the Council of Ministers in April 2019 to adopt it as an internal document instead.

Auditor General, Gamini Herath, attended the XXIII edition of INCOSAI held in Moscow during 23 to 27 September 2019. INCOSAI, which is the largest gathering of INTOSAI members at any given time and place brought together over 600 participants. SAI Seychelles did showcase its report on Seychelles Coastal Management and played the video clip that goes with it at three different booths, namely, AFROSAI, ARABOSAI and ASOSAI. Our video was well appreciated by a large number of viewers. Copies of the report were also requested by a number of participants.

AG participated in discussions between AFROSAI-E and ARABOSAI for mobilizing funds for the former based on the MOU which came up for renewal in this year.

AG attended theme discussions organized by different working groups of INTOSAI; the themes being, (a) Information Technology for the development of public administration; and (b) the role of the Supreme Audit Institutions in the achievement of the National Priorities and Goals.

On the occasion of the 9th anniversary of Office of the Auditor General (OAG) under the new Auditor General Act 2010, the OAG is pleased to announce that it has produced 20 reports to the National Assembly during 2017 and 2018, which is a record number of reports for any period of its long history, before and after 2010. These reports in the form of annual reports, activity reports, special audit reports and performance audit reports, have met the statutory requirements of Article 158 (3) and (7) of the Constitution of the Republic of Seychelles and various provisions in the Auditor General Act, 2010. During the same period, OAG has also issued a large number of management letters to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and certified hundreds of Financial Statements of various budget-dependent statutory bodies, funded projects and public enterprises under the provisions of various laws. These products have helped MDAs to make necessary improvements to their financial management, internal controls and overall performance while ensuring a higher level of good governance, transparency and accountability in the way they operate. The OAG has made its presence felt across Seychelles and beyond its borders by engaging its local, regional and international stakeholders through constructive dialogs, partnerships and professional associations. In our day-to-day operations, we strive to comply with the relevant laws, uphold the INTOSAI Code of Ethics, adhere to the International Auditing Standards, follow the best practice guides, safeguard the public interest and ensure continuous professional development. At the OAG, we go the extra mile willingly to serve our Nation to the best of our abilities.

OAG- The fourth pillar of our democracy

A lokazyon 9enm lanniverser Lofis Oditer Zeneral, anba son nouvo Lalwa Oditer Zeneral 2010, nou annan gran plezir pour anonse ki nou’n prodwir e prezant 20 rapor avek Lasanble Nasyonal pandan lannen 2017 a 2018. Sa i reprezant en gran lakonplisman e en rikord dan listwar nou Lofis, avan e apre 2010. Sa bann rapor in ganny prodwir an linny avek bann provizyon anba Lartik 158 (3) e (7) Konstitisyon Larepiblik Sesel e osi Lalwa Oditer Zeneral, 2010. Pandan sa menm peryod, Lofis Oditer Zeneral in osi fer sorti en kantite let korespondans pour bann Minister, Departman e Lazans Gouvernman swivan bann travay odit ki’n ganny fer. Lofis Oditer Zeneral in osi sertifye plis ki en santenn kont bann Lazans sekter piblik ki depan lo bidze Gouvernman osi byen bann lantrepriz piblik komersyel anliny avek bann provizyon nou lalwa. Nou bann rapor in ed plizyer Minister, Departman e Lazans Gouvernman pour fer bann amelyorasyon neseser lo fason ki zot zer zot bann resours finansyer, zot kontrol entern e zot performans an zeneral. An rezilta, sa in ede pour asir pli o nivo bonn gourvernans, latransparans e responsabilite dan lafason ki zot travay. Pandan sa bann dernyen lannen, prezans Lofis Oditer Zeneral in osi ganny rekonnet e apresye lo nivo nasyonal e osi enternasyonal. Nou Lofis in angaze avek bokou dimoun e lorganizasyon ki annan menm lentere e konsern avek nou travay. Sa in ganny fer atraver bann dyalog konstriktiv, partenarya e osi atraver nou langazman dan bann lasosyasyon profesyonnel. Dan nou travay toulezour, nou fer tou zefor pour swiv bann lalwa respektiv, nou mentenir bann Kod Etik e swiv bann standar enternasyonal odit bann lasosyasyon ki nou afliye avek tel ki Lorganizasyon Enternasyonal pour bann Lenstitisyon Odit Siprenm (INTOSAI). Nou adopte bann bon pratik, protez e defann lentere piblik e osi asir devlopman profesyonnel e kontinyel nou bann zofisye. Kot Lofis Oditer Zeneral, nou antouzyas pour fer sa pa ekstra pour deservi nou nasyon avek tou nou abilite e resours ki a nou dispozisyon.

Auditor General, Mr Gamini Herath, has submitted his annual report for the year 2018 to the Speaker of the National Assembly for tabling, as required under Article 158 (5) of the Constitution.

This is the third consecutive year the report has been submitted two months in advance of the statutory deadline, which normally falls in the month of December each year.

The main objective of submitting early reports to the National Assembly is to allow the members more time for reading, analysing and appreciating the information on the overall budget performance for 2018 and the mattes arising from the audit of individual public bodies.

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