Amendment draft of Audit Act ready

Kathmandu, February 7

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) — the external auditor of the government — has said that it should be provided the right to review big scams immediately by amending the existing Audit Act and it is also preparing to change the audit calendar.

Currently, the auditor general conducts auditing and publishes the report of the previous fiscal year at the end of ongoing fiscal, by when the issues of scam have been pushed to the backburner and it is difficult to build pressure to penalise the guilty, as per Auditor General Tanka Mani Sharma.

The current legal provision bars the OAG from auditing the big scams immediately, as would be expected from an effective oversight agency. Since this fiscal, the OAG has made it mandatory for public corporations, hospitals and universities to conclude their backlog auditing, as per Sharma. “For the efficacy of the OAG, the existing law needs to be amended.”

The OAG has prepared the draft amendment of the Audit Act and it will be submitted to the new Parliament after it is formed. The OAG has also included the provision to bring forward the date to start auditing.

“If the draft amendment is endorsed, government agencies would have to prepare their financial statements of the previous fiscal by the first quarter of the new fiscal, and the OAG will start the audit process from the fourth month of the fiscal and hand over the annual audit report to the president before the first half of the fiscal year,” said Sharma.

As per the current practice, the OAG prepares and submits the audit report of the previous fiscal in the ninth or 10th month of the ongoing fiscal.

The OAG is also preparing to set up one branch office in each province for timely auditing of federal agencies, provincial and local level rural municipalities and municipalities, according to Sharma.