The Office of the Auditor General was established under Section 109 of the Belize Constitution, Chapter 4 of the Laws of Belize, Revised Edition 2000. The Office of the Auditor General is managed by the Auditor General who is appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of both Houses of the National Assembly.
The Office of the Auditor General, in carrying out its mandate, examines all of the various accounts that falls under the purview of ministries, departments and other public authorities as prescribed by law. In accordance with Section 120 (4) of the Belize Constitution and Section 16 (1) of the Finance and Audit (Reform) Act no 12 of 2005 the Auditor General is mandated to prepare an annual report documenting those significant findings for each financial year and present such report to the National Assembly.
With this in mind, the purpose of this paper is to review the Auditor General’s Reports for years 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 which have been presented to the National Assembly. It will determine what international standards were used in preparing the report, the extent to which the recommendations of the report were adhered to and finally, to identify the wider accountability issues reflected in the reports.
Evaluate the extent to which the issues identified for improvements and or adjustments in the previous report were resolved.
A comparison of the 2010 and 2011 Auditor General’s Reports was conducted in an effort to determine those issues that required improvements and or adjustments in the previous year but reoccurred in the subsequent reporting period. Several issues were identified and will be discussed in more detail in the subsequent paragraphs.
The first issue identified was the fact that the Auditor General was not receiving financial statements in a complete and timely manner. In accordance with the Finance and Audit Reform Act No. 12 of 2005 financial statements must be submitted in a timely manner by the Accountant General to the Auditor General, however; the complaint from the Accountant General is that they are not receiving the relevant information from the various ministries and departments which continues the cycle of the blame game, the effects of this is that the financial statements lacks reliability and usefulness.
Another issue raised was the fact that most ministries and departments were non-complaint with respect to Financial Order 89 which states that “Accounting Officers are to furnish the Accountant General and the Auditor General with returns of arrears of revenue at the end of December and June in each financial year”. Subsequent audits revealed that some ministries are still not complying with the regulations; rendering the government incapable of knowing the quantum and the contributing factors for such arrears.
As Belize move towards the International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS) it is not only important but highly recommended that it maintains updated...