Auditor questions Samoa Post accounts

The accuracy of the Samoa Post Office’s financial statements have come under question by the Auditor-General. 

Samoa’s Post Office’s finances are outlined in the organisation’s annual report for the 2018-2019 Financial Year. 

The report includes a review of the organisation’s finances undertaken by the Audit Office, led by the nation’s Controller and Auditor-General, Fuimaono Camillo Afe, with the support of the accounting firm B.D.O. and its then-partner, Taimalie Ernest Betham. 

At issue is what the Audit describes as the absence of supporting information to prove the accuracy of line items, including trade debtors and receivables (money owed to the company) of more than $2 million.

Also lacking sufficient proof of its existence, the Audit Office found,  was a listed $4.4 million on the Post Office’s books for trade and other payables (or money owed by the company). 

“We were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to satisfy the existence and accuracy of these accounts,” the report reads. 

“Consequently, we were unable to determine whether any adjustments to these amounts were necessary and, accordingly, we do not express any assurance on these account balances.” 

Aside from those reservations, the Audit Office gave Samoa Post Limited a clean bill of financial health:

“Its financial performance and its cash flows for the year then ended in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards,” the report found. 

The report, which was tabled before Parliament last June, has never been publicly released but a copy was obtained by the Samoa Observer. 

Attempts to seek a comment from both the Chief Executive Officer of the Samoa Post Office, Tupe Ualolo Nun Yan, and the organisation’s responsible Minister, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, were not successful as of press time.

The Minister did not respond to repeated questions about the contents of the report made via email and text message since Thursday. 

Meanwhile, the Acting C.E.O. of Samoa Post, Betty Tofa Pitova, said she was not authorised to talk to the media and declined to provide a contact point for Tupe, whom she confirmed was on leave. 

“If you want to talk to our Minister that’s fine then, he’s already aware of the annual report,” the Acting C.E.O. said. 

The report shows an organisation facing a decline of 15 per cent in revenue, but which has also cut its expenditures by six per cent. 

In total, the organisation recorded a net profit after tax of more than $455,000 for the year-ending in June 2019. That represents a decrease of 18 per cent from its profit the previous year of more than $558,000.

The Auditor conducted its work in accordance with International Standards of Auditing (I.S.A.s), the report says. 

“We are independent of Samoa Post Limited in accordance with the ethical requirements that are relevant to our audit of financial statements in Samoa and we have fulfilled our ethical responsibilities in accordance with these requirements,” the Audit Office said. 

“We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.” 

According to the report, revenue collected by Samoa Post Limited for the 2019 financial year was $2.01 million compared to $2.36 million the previous year. 

The report further states that the shareholders’ equity grew stronger for the year under review to reach more than $3 million from nearly $2.5 million a year prior, growth the organisation attributed to increased retained earnings. 

Below were the questions sent to the Minister for comments: 

Queries pertaining to the Samoa Post Annual Report for FY 2018-2019 [have] been referred to you by the Acting C.E.O. Betty Tofa Pitovao. 

According to the financial statement for the financial report, under the basis for qualified opinion, the Auditor noted at year end [Samoa Post Limited] shows Trade Debtors and Other receivables of $2,045,258 and Trade and other payables of $4,463,162 tala. 

"We were unable to obtain sufficient appropriate evidence to satisfy the existence and accuracy of these accounts:

“Consequently, we were unable to determine whether any adjustments to these amounts were necessary and accordingly we do not express any assurance on these account balances." 

Do you wish to comment on the issue raised by the Auditor in the Samoa Post annual report?


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