THE Office of the Auditor General (AG) has finally presented the first draft of its spot on audit to the Honiara City Council (HCC) on Thursday.
Councilor for Vura Ward, Cr. Reginald Ngati told the paper yesterday said the presentation was made in the presence of the Honiara City Mayor, his clerk and heads of division.
Ngati said he was very pleased with the action taken by the Ministry of Home Affairs to request the AG office to conduct the spot audit so that whatever mal-administration or practice of misconduct in office can be revealed.
However, he said one of the interesting revelations during the presentation is the amount of revenue that was spent during the first quarter of this year picked up by the audit.
“Initially we were told that it was $19m and it was confirmed by the finance chair in his presentation during our recent full council meeting with a surplus of $3m.
“Not only that, but the figure also is different from the one City Clerk presented during a meeting organised by the Solomon Islands Chamber of Commerce (SICCI) where he said the council has spent almost $15m for the first quarter,” he added.
Ngati claimed interestingly according to the audit report presentation, it was discovered that in the first three months the council has spent around $22m plus and not $19m or $15.
“When I hear this, first I am confused. Is Council telling the truth for the people and residents of Honiara about its financial status?
“The report that was presented by the finance chair has already gone out publicly in the media telling the residence of Honiara about the $19m, later the city clerk stated $15m in his presentation and then the $22m was revealed in the audit. Are we telling the truth about the financial status of this public entity? he questioned.
He added he was also surprised seeing the budget allocation for the council this year is just $51m but with the spending already in the three months has almost reach half of that budget.
Ngati claimed according to the audit’s finding, on the last payday of March 2020 as the last payday of that first quarter, the council was only left with $600k plus in its account.
“So I am surprised that we almost make the half of the budget in just over the first three months and now as we enter into the third quarter, it means that the council should now be in a surplus or deficit which to me it’s already a confusing budget.
“The next thing that also surprises me is how many divisions within the council have benefited from that $22m?
“The city residents might want to know how much of it went into health division, law enforcement division, youth, and women division, education division, the dumpsite, and others? That’s my concern as to where all the money went to?
“But thanks to the minister again for the wise decision to call for a spot on audit to find exactly what it really needs to be done,” he added.
Meanwhile, Auditor General Peter Lokay earlier said after the final draft is complete and forward to the minister, then he will then make the final decision based on that report.
This paper understands some of the issues that the audit will look at include the spending of $19 million dollars within the first three months, the $1.8m borrowing, the purchasing of vehicles, lock-up shops and ward grants.
Ngati said he looks forward to seeing the action by the minister when he officially receives the audit report after it is finalised.