24 Aug 2012

Marshalls Auditor General says more funding needed if it's to tackle fraud

3:34 pm on 24 August 2012

The Marshall Islands Auditor General is struggling to meet his mandate to prevent fraud and to review the performance of government agencies because of a lack of funding.

The Auditor General, Junior Patrick, has told the parliament, or Nitijela, that current funding limits the scope of audits to financial statements and compliance reviews.

Mr Patrick took office 16 months ago and, following revelations of widespread corruption and theft by government employees, has overhauled his office to increase staffing and develop new anti-fraud and performance auditing divisions.

But the office still only has 9 employees while Mr Patrick says it needs 21.

He says ideally all government ministries and agencies should be audited not only for financial compliance but also for performance and programme results.

Last month he launched the first performance audit of a government ministry, focusing on the Ministry of Finance's Revenue and Taxation Division.

But Mr Patrick says the successful functioning of the office will depend on staffing levels and this is dependent on the budget allocation.