Fuimaono Afele Taimalelagi - Keeping the Government honest

Controller and Auditor General, Fuimaono Mata’afa Papali’i Camillo G. Afele Taimalelagi, and his Office have made a big difference in an effort to keep the Government, accountable, transparent and honest.

A man of very few words, Fuimaono has over the years shed the light on the Government’s financial affairs through his office’s audit reports which are submitted to Parliament.

His work as the Controller and Auditor General and the international recognition he has received for leading the drive to keep the Government accountable is why he is a nominee for the Samoa Observer’s Person of the Year 2018.

In 2016 Fuimaono was instrumental in establishing the Samoa Integrity Organizations Network, which strives to eliminate corruption. The establishment of a special unit in the Audit Office for whistleblowers in the public sector — who want to report fraud and other irregularities — materialised during his term as the Auditor General. This came on the back of laws enacted in 2014, which recommended that the Audit Office facilitate voluntary reporting of fraud and other irregularities, and ensure there is legal protection for whistleblowers. 

“The special audit unit will also make use of new audit laws effective from January 2014, with whistle blowing clauses facilitating the voluntary reporting of fraud and irregularities with legal protection and without repercussions,” stated the Audit Report for the Financial Year 2015/2016. 

In that same year, Fuimaono was appointed to represent the Pacific Supreme Audit Institution (P.A.S.A.I) to the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (I.N.T.O.S.A.I) Governing Board. 

This year the Audit Office submitted its Irregularity and the Audit Report for the Samoa Government for the financial year ending June, 2017 — which means the Audit Office is now up to date in all its reports on the Government’s use of public funding up to the last financial year. This was a first for Samoa and the Pacific Islands. 

His work as the chief accountant of public funds in Samoa was recognised this year when he was named the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in Community Outreach Service Award by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, an American-based anti-fraud organisation and one of the world’s largest provider of anti-fraud training. The award was presented in July this year.

A.C.F.E. vice president and general counsel, John Warren J.D., announced the award and gave details of how the 2018 recipient is an active contributor in his community through various initiatives to help improve the quality of life in Samoa. 

“Firstly, the A.C.F.E. members should be actively committed in where they live and work, many on the volunteerism, the recipient must first reflect the strong belief of the members should be active contributors to the community, and be committed in helping improve the places where they live and work.

“Many of our members fulfill this commitment through volunteerism. The recipient of the outstanding achievement in community outreach and Service award must demonstrate that he or she has been an active volunteer in projects, that have resulted in recognised improvement of their community,” he said.

The A.C.F.E. vice president said Fuimaono has led a campaign to rid corruption in Samoa in a variety of programs.

“This year’s winner is the Controller and Chief Auditor in the Samoa Audit Office and in his role, he has led the campaign to rid corruption in a variety of programs. 

“He initiated the Samoa Integrity Network Project, which includes educational videos to teach the public about the risks of fraud and corruption and he released a fraud control manual in honor of Corruption day, and he also plans to establish an A.C.F.E. chapter that would connect different members,” he said of Fuimaono.

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