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Internal Audit Department/MoFED trains Central Government Auditors on Internal Audit Manual

  • Thursday, Sep 03 2015

The Internal Audit Unit at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development(MoFED) has on Monday 21st September held a training workshop on Internal Audit Manual for Central Auditors at the Santano House.

The training was sponsored by the Public Financial Management Improvement and Consolidation Project through funds donated by donor partners notably World Bank, AFDB and DFID.

The primary Objective of the training on the Internal Audit Manual is to provide adequate information and materials geared towards enhancing their capacity for use by public sector internal auditors to carry out their Internal audit activities.

In his opening remarks the chairman of the Program, who is also the Assistant Director of Administration of the Internal Audit Department, Abdulai Samura, said the main role of Internal Auditors in Central Government is definitely to add value and strengthen controls in their respective MDAs. He added that in order to enable them carry out such an important role, they need to be provided with the necessary tools such as the Audit Manual and the necessary training on the working document for better understanding and application. He said they should be proud of themselves as a department as they can now boast of a standard Internal Audit Manual. He further thanked the senior members who were involved in the first workshop to downsize the original manual and customize the operating procedures and templates to suit audit practices in the public sector. Abdulai Samura pointed out that after two weeks of deliberations the staff successfully came up with the first draft of the Internal Audit manual.

He said in 2006, the Government of Sierra Leone saw the need for an internal audit manual and took up the challenge to develop one, stating that an external consultant was hired but the manual that was produced was too bulky and voluminous and most of the operating procedures and templates in the manual were unsuitable for internal auditors in the public sector.

He maintained that in 2014, the directorate of the Internal Audit Department decided to develop a revised version of the manual provided by the consultant. He acknowledged that through funding from the Integrated Public Financial Management Reform Project( IPFMRP), two workshops were held , the first of which was attended by auditors in the senior cadre who were charged with the responsibility of downsizing the original manual prepared by the consultants and customize the operating procedures and templates to suit best practice. The Chairman highlighted that the second workshop however constituted a larger group of Internal Auditors that included a cross - section of all cadres, who were charged with the duty to review, critique and make suggestions for improvements on the first draft of the internal audit manual which was disseminated to other professional bodies and stakeholders in the public sector for their comments and inputs. He said the last and final process on the internal audit manual was the workshop that was held recently on the validation of the manual, during which stakeholders and Heads of Internal Audit Units in key MDAs were invited and their views and inputs are being included in the final version of the manual.

In his statement the Director of Internal Audit at MoFED, Kandeh Sesay, noted that internal audit is key in Public Financial Management, stating that a primary lesson from the financial failure and collapse of numerous organizations is that good governance, risk management, and internal controls are essentials to corporate success and longevity.

Mr Sesay says because of its unique and objective perspective, in-depth organizational knowledge , and application of sound audit and consulting principles, the internal audit function is well - positioned to provide valuable support and assurance to an organization and its oversight entities. He stressed that however these services cannot be delivered in the absence of well - documented and well - communicated policies and procedures, which comprise the audit manual.

The Director of Internal Audit informed the participants that Internal Audit function in the Public Sector was legally recognized in 2005 when the Government Budgeting and Accountability Act was enacted . He said in 2010 also , the cadre was established followed by mass recruitment.

He explained to the participants that they are gathered to be trained on the use of the revised in-house by senior Audit staff noting that the revision was borne out of the fact that the previous audit manual developed by KPMG was not user friendly and did not have operating procedures and templates.

Mr Sesay said the Internal Audit Manual is intended to:

" Provide Government Internal Audit Staff with Practical Professional guidance, tools and information for managing the internal audit activity and for planning, conducting and reporting on internal audit work. The use of the manual should help bring a systematic and disciplined approach to the audit of governance, risk management and control processes and assist the internal Auditor meet the goal of adding value to their respective organizations. Enhance the quality and effectiveness of the Internal Audit by paving the way to put into practice procedures and processes that would help it conform to professional standards and best practices."

He said the manual describes the generic processes for establishing risk based annual audit plans, planning and conducting audit engagements and reporting the results of the audit plans.

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