Republic of
South Sudan

NATIONAL AUDIT CHAMBER (NAC)

AG Speech to EAAPAC Juba Conference - 7th February 2013

AFROSAI-E
 
AG
Amb.Steven K Wondu
 
PAC Members
 
PAC Members
 
PAC Members
 
 
7th February 2013
 
"Relations with other Supreme Audit Institutions"
presented at the East African Public Accounts Committees (EAAPAC), Juba Conference on 7th February 2013.
 
Speech by Ambassador Steven Wöndu,  Auditor General – South Sudan
 
1. Free Ride
On behalf of the entire staff of the South Sudan National Audit Chamber (NAC), I congratulate you for convening this conference. In particular, I am proud of the determination of the Public Accounts Committee of the South Sudan National Legislative Assembly to host their peers from East, South and West Africa this week.  I was happy to take a free ride on your initiative and hosted a few of my fellow Auditors General.
 
2. Membership
This morning we are considering the relationships amongst the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIS). While this topic may be of general interest to all, it is of major interest to the South Sudan National Audit Chamber. We became members of the African Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI) in April 2012. We were admitted into the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) in November 2012.  That is how new we are in the community of nations. I am yet to pay official visits to our immediate neighbours.
 
At this age we have virtually nothing to offer to our senior and experienced SAIs. It is us who stand to gain in our interactions with the PACs and SAIs in Africa.  In cognizance of this reality, I have invited AFROSAI to send a team of experts to come to Juba to evaluate our National Audit Chamber. I would like to know as early as possible what I am doing wrong before I mislead the Chamber into irrelevant territory.
 
3. Globalisation
The twenty first century is rolling away before our eyes. We have already a dozen years behind us. This century is billed as the era of globalization. That magic word means coming together with openness for common purposes. Coming together can be for trade; it can be for scientific advancements; it can be for humanitarian issues; it can be for political purposes; it can be for knowledge and skill sharing. Our future will no more be a story of competition but  a story of cooperation.  Hence we are here in this hall, in this town and in this conference.
 
In coming together the Supreme Audit Institutions and PACs can synergize. We have different ethnic backgrounds, political histories, constitutional frameworks, colonial legacies and continental commonalities. So we have different stories to tell and then charter a learning curve that will have the best of every history. The purpose is to share the knowledge and skills which have accumulated individually so that in the globalized world we will have a common story of how to evolve “Right stuff at the Right Place”.
 
4. Standards
Our constitution requires the office of the Auditor General to set Auditing Standards for the country.  We have been questioned in parliament about the bases on which we conducted our audits. We are still struggling with the promulgation of an Audit Chamber Act for the newly independent republic.  If it had not been for the existence of INTOSAI and the availability of international auditing standards, we would not have been able to execute our mandate.
 
We have adopted the INTOSAI standards both for technical work and for human resource management. INTOSAI is making progress in the standardization of all aspects of public audit including Performance Audit. And when these standards and techniques are put in place the accountability assurance levels will automatically go up. The stake holders, wherever they are in the world, will have similar levels of public accountability. That will be the globalised world of public audit and accountability.
 
5. Help Me
The South Sudan National Audit Chamber does not have the necessary pool of talents to apply these standards. I am considering skill enhancement through twining. I hope to sign Memoranda of Understanding with some of the SAIs to this effect. I hope my peers will agree to take some of the bright auditors of my chamber and help them to discover better ways of doing a public audit.
 
 I am experimenting with what I call the mentoring model of skills transfer.  A  SAI in our region or elsewhere in Africa can second some of their best talents for six months to build the capacity of my supervisory level officers. The cost benefit ratio would be the cost is yours and benefit is mine.
 
Parliament’s understanding of the scope and span of audit necessary for the expression of an opinion is not the same as ours at the NAC. In South Sudan the faith in sampling techniques and statistical methods is fragile. Members of parliament want a hundred   per cent examination of government records.  They expect all the transactions of all the MDAs to be audited. I appeal to the PACs to sensitize my legislators and help me out of the impossible.
 
The National Audit Chamber has an array of technical manuals to facilitate audit work. AFROSAI can have them looked at and suggest improvements. We will soon be publishing manuals for the three P’s: Procurement, Performance and Petroleum Audits.  We shall submit these for peer review too.
 
6. Out side the Box
Allow me to seize this opportunity to share our outreach to institutions other than the SAIs and the PACs. Our government and some members of the donor community pooled resources for the construction of the national Audit Chamber building. We received support for in-house training programs, including the production of training manuals and codes of ethics and professional conduct. We are hoping that with the help of the other African SAIs, we can secure placements in centers of learning Mekerere University and Kenya Institute of Administration.
 
Most of the member countries of INTOSAI have internationally known private professional firms practicing public audit. Auditors from South Sudan can be attached to these firms to learn work practices.  I was talking to my dear friend the President of INTOSAI the other day about Team Mate software and People Soft which they use in their day to day work. Let us evaluate and introduce these in the South Sudan National Audit Chamber.
 
As for the relationship between our PAC and the NAC, we have a unity of purpose and convergence of interest.  They have been very generous in processing and arguing for my proposed budget with the rest of the House. We share a common desire to improve the quality of governance in this country. We have decided to free ourselves from the disease of fear.  In return for their sympathy and cooperation, I have offered to host the PAC in the new Audit Chamber under construction. That way we will be working together shoulder to shoulder again. Many of them were my comrades in the bush.
 
You may have noticed that I am a man in a hurry because I am a late entrant into the race. I am please to report that we have almost overcome the five years’ audit arrears I inherited in 2010. I have written a Strategic Development Plan. We have quadrupled the number of audit staff. The Audit Chamber is a beehive of activities in institutional development. Please visit our website www.auditchamber-ss.org to appreciate our vision and mission.
 
God Bless South Sudan!
 
 
 
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