Samoa Post C.E.O. stands by finances

The Samoa Post Office’s Chief Executive Officer, Tupa’i Tupe Nun Yan, is standing by its annual report despite the Auditor-General questioning the basis of the office's financial statements. 

Tupa’i said that he was unmoved by questions raised about the financial statements in its 2018-19 annual report raised in a review by the Auditor-General and Controller, Fuimaono Camillo Afele.

 "[The] audit opinion is qualified,” Tupa’i said, in relation to questions raised about the organisation’s financial statements. 

“The key issue [..]is that [the] audit opinion is qualified and also [... our annual] report which specifies the reasons. So we didn’t hide anything,” said Tupa’i during a phone interview with the Samoa Observer. 

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

At issue in the Auditor’s review are what is described as the absence of evidence to support line items in the budget, such as more than $2 million for trade debtors and receivables (money owed to the company).

Also lacking sufficient proof of its existence, the Audit Office found, was $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 Auditor’s 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. 

However Tupa’i said the bottom line is that the Auditor’s opinion was qualified because access to complete accounting information was not available for his review. 

“On the basis that confirmation from international debtors and creditors confirming receivable and payables were not received,” Tupa’i said

The Samoa Post’s annual report said it was not the first year for which the audit opinion was qualified for the same reasons. 

Samoa Post said that it sought confirmation letters from the organisation’s creditors and debtors but did not receive responses within the required timeframe because the Auditor’s request did not allow sufficient time. 

“Additionally, Samoa Post cannot force overseas postal administrations to comply, as this [...] is not an obligation under international settlements in accordance with the Universal Postal Union regulations,” the organisation’s report said. 

The Auditor’s report into the postal services finances, tabled in Parliament earlier this year, said that it had given the organisation appropriate time to provide an official response: “We believe that the audit evidence we have obtained is sufficient and appropriate to provide a reasonable basis for our opinion.” 

Last week the Samoa Observer contacted the Minister, Afamasaga Rico Tupa’i, for comments about the Auditor’s findings but did not receive a response before publication. 

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