Audit says electronic registry not effective

An audit of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour has questioned the electronic registry system currently being used to store the details of all registered companies.

A review by the Audit Office found the system is partly ineffective as it cannot produce reports such as the register of companies, outstanding registration fees and annual returns. 

This is according to the Audit report submitted to Parliament for M.C.I.L's financial year 2014. 

The Ministry, in collaboration with the Private Sector Development Initiative under the Asian Development Bank will be reviewing the relevant Companies Act 2001 to address issues raised in the Auditor’s Report. 

“These reforms will include the temporary removal of a company from the Register of Companies in Samoa if it fails to file its annual returns. Another development that will ameliorate this issue is the launch of the payment gateway, to allow the use of credit cards and other similar types of facilities to make payments online."

“The previous management letter report for 2012-2013 outlined the issue on outstanding debts not accounted for within M.C.I.L. accounts. It was noted again during this spot check,” Audit report stated. 

The Audit report noted that the term “annual returns” - which is traditionally associated with filing of financial reports, evidence of last AGM of Companies and their resolutions under the current system filing annual returns - is just a term referring to a company maintaining its details on its online account, its registered address, shareholders and directors.

Also the human resource monthly report showed that quite a number of employees were reminded to fill in leave forms. 

“This seems to be a regular practice for most of the employees, indicating weaknesses in internal controls over the monitoring of leave. The H.R. Officers should strictly enforce the ministry to comply with the requirements of the Public Service Commission is working condition and entitlement manual. M.C.I.L. has in place a control mechanism, with flexibility applied to allow staff to take leave when their personal circumstances require them to.”

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