THE Honiara City Council (HCC) should develop procedures and guidance for the purchase of goods and services.
That’s according to the Special Investigation Audit Report compiled by the Solomon Islands Office of the Auditor General (OAG) which was scrutinised by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday.
The Auditors from OAG who appeared before the PAC on Tuesday revealed that their findings have not found any evidence that a business case (or similar) was developed to justify the need for the procurement.
This is to confirm the financial viability of the procurement or establish the need for a trial and the appropriate size of such a trial.
The finding came about when OAG investigated the purchasing of fire extinguishers and motor vehicles.
It was evident that the procurement for the fire extinguishers resulted in a contract with Jiangshan Anbao Fire fighting Company in China for SBD$1,925,215.45
OAG told PAC that they have found no evidence that the Council defined what was required for a fire extinguisher to be ‘Council approved’ and thereby set the criteria for the procurement.
OAG auditors also told PAC that the second purchase they considered was for the 12 vehicles budgeted at SBD$4.2 million. This includes a range of vehicles including cars, pick-ups (Hilux), a bus, and trucks.
OAG auditors told PAC that similarly to the fire extinguisher process, their investigation found no tender board or similar committee with minutes to support the procurement evaluation process.
Before the PAC yesterday Auditors stated that their inquiries have found that the Council does not have any procurement guidelines.
Meanwhile, PAC outspoken member and the Leader of the Opposition Mathew Wale questioned if there was a Council Finance Ordinance in place.
But the auditors said they were not aware of any financial ordinance their finding only showed that HCC is still using the National Government Financial Instructions since HCC Act was established.
Mr. Wale said that this calls for the Ministry of Home Affairs to intervene.
“If HCC did not have any Financial Ordinance for this long then this is a total negligence in its highest form by the ministry responsible and the HCC as well,” he added.
This paper understands that HCC Lord Mayor and the City Clerk will appear tomorrow morning before the PAC for further scrutiny.
They will also respond to the many allegations levelled at them both in the media and social media.
By ANDREW FANASIA