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Wednesday, June 19, 2024


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Says Barrow’s comments exposes general lack of knowledge about audit

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By Omar Bah

Former Auditor General Karamba Touray has said President Adama Barrow’s claims that audit reports are just ‘mere’ opinions exposes the general lack of knowledge about audit and audit reports.

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Speaking in a Star TV interview aired Friday night with veteran broadcaster Malik Jones, President Barrow said audit reports are ‘mere’ opinions prepared by individuals who could be biased or make mistakes.

In his reaction a former auditor general Mr Touray said: “While it is true that audit reports are opinions or judgements made by the auditor, they are the result of diligent performance, in good faith and with integrity, the gathering and objective evaluation of evidence.”

He added that an audit is a service that provides assurance to the owners of an entity that it is operating well.

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“Auditing is defined as a systematic and independent examination of data, statements, records, operations and performances (financial or otherwise) of an enterprise for a stated purpose. In any auditing, the auditor perceives and recognises the propositions before him for examination, collects evidence, evaluates and on this basis formulates his judgment which is communicated through his audit report. Any subject matter may be audited,” he said.

Touray added that audits provide third party assurance to various stakeholders that the subject matter is free from material misstatement.

“The term is most frequently applied to audits of the financial information relating to a legal person. Other areas which are commonly audited include; internal controls, quality management, project management, water management, waste management, contract management, energy conservation, etc. We conducted our audits in accordance with International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAIs) issued by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI). These standards require that we comply with ethical requirements and plan and perform the audit to obtain reasonable assurance that the financial transactions are free from material misstatements, whether caused by fraud or error and whether in all material respects, the expenditure and income have been applied in accordance with applicable laws and regulations,” he stated.

He added that the audit includes tests of accounting records, internal controls and other procedures as were considered necessary for the due performance of the audit.

“Or as in the case of performance audit, assess or examine the extent to which an organisation, programme or scheme operates economically, efficiently, and effectively. Performance audits go beyond judgements of compliance and accuracy to also evaluate performance and the value for money obtained through government transactions,” he said.

Mr Touray said a management letter is intended to provide management and those charged with governance with valuable information regarding their organisation.

“It details the issues which were not resolved during the audit and recommendations are made for implementation to improve the accounting and internal control systems, ensure compliance with Financial Regulations, Public Finance Act, Gambia Public Procurement Authority Act and other relevant laws. Management is always accorded the opportunity to react to management letter before the conclusion of the audit so the issue of bias does not arise at all. As a result of an audit; stakeholders may effectively evaluate and improve the effectiveness of risk management, control, and the governance process over the subject matter,” he concluded.

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