Auditor General rejects prison investigation call

The Controller and Auditor General, Fuimaono Camillo Afele, has rejected a call to investigate "millions" spent on the Tanumalala Prison as unnecessary. 

During a recent interview with the Samoa Observer, Salega East Member of Parliament, Olo Fiti Vaai, urged the Auditor General to look into the amount of public funds spent on the new prison. 

“The Auditor should investigate the prisons work to ensure the funds appropriated for the project was properly spent," Olo said during an interview with the Samoa Observer. 

But the Auditor General said Olo doesn't have to tell his Office what to do.

Fuimaono said all Government Ministries - including the Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services (S.P.C.S.) - are subject to being audited every year.

“Ministries are audited annually or every year including the Prisons,” said Fuimaono in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

“Audits include audit of payments and the actual assets obtained or constructed. 

“For all Ministries and Public Accounts, the last audit was for the financial year ended 30 June 2019.” 

The reports on the audit will be submitted to Parliament by the Minister of Finance, Sili Epa Tuioti, he added.

The reports will then be referred to the Finance and Expenditure Committee for further scrutiny. 

“The audit laws govern the audits and require [them to be performed annually]” he explained. 

“The audit laws protect the independence of the Audit Office by legislating that the Audit Office is not to be directed.”

Olo made the call after an additional $4.3 million was approved in the supplementary budget 2019/2020 for the Samoa Prisons and Corrections Services (S.P.C.S.). 

About $18 million has already been spent on the project. 

“My request is for the Auditor to value the assets at the prison and to align it with the money that has already been spent because another request is being made for more money to complete the works [at the Tanumalala prison]," the M.P. said. 

The $4,350,729 million estimated for the S.P.C.S. 2019/2020 supplementary budget includes: a staff quarter worth $1 million; additional staff and an on-call allowances worth $469,283; $1,175,170 on miscellaneous remaining works; doctors' salaries for six months worth $45,500 and $30,000 for assets for town cleaning. 

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