Audit Office banned from overseas trips

By Talaia Mika 16 April 2024, 1:00PM

The Cabinet has suspended all staff from the Audit Office from travelling on any government-funded trips for the current financial year following a breach by senior auditors.

Samoa Observer obtained a Cabinet Directive on Monday confirming that under the government's constitutional requirements, which mandate that travel must receive prior approval from the Cabinet, a decision has been made at the Cabinet level. 

Three senior auditors from the office Audit office were scheduled to leave for a regional audit training held in Fiji last week without the Cabinet being informed according to the Directive.

Effective immediately and continuing until the conclusion of the 2023-2024 financial year, individuals from the Audit Office are prohibited from participating in any government trips,  the Directive highlighted.

"In its meeting on Cabinet Directive FK (24)14 Wednesday 10 April 2024, the Cabinet discussed the PK(24)436 and approved the censuring the Audit Director-Malili Chou Lee and senior auditors, Velmar Levasa and Ivan Tone from this training," the FK reads.

"This does not align with the government's constitution that they leave the country without an official approval from the Cabinet.

"Therefore, it has been decided by the Cabinet that anyone from the Audit Office has been banned from going on any government trips starting from the date of this decision until the end of the 2023-2024 financial year."

It is also stated in the Cabinet Directive that the auditor's office has been told to avoid a repetition of such an incident in the future.

"The directive is expedited in accordance with section 38 (1) of the Constitution of the Government of Samoa."

Asked for a comment, the controller and auditor general, Fuimaono Camillo Afele said he could not comment on matters discussed in the cabinet.

"Unfortunately, we cannot help you with your questions as Cabinet decisions, directives and discussions are confidential that we are not privy to as we do not sit in Cabinet," he stated in an email correspondence with this newspaper.

"I think it is best for you to direct your questions to someone who sits in Cabinet for example the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet who is also the Secretary to Cabinet."

Attempts to get a comment from the C.E.O of the Ministry of Prime Minister and Cabinet who is also the Secretary to Cabinet, Agafili Shem Leo were unsuccessful as of press time.

By Talaia Mika 16 April 2024, 1:00PM
Samoa Observer

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