The Office of the Auditor General says it will not suspend any audits this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will instead follow the laid down health guidelines during their operations.

According to a statement issued by head of public relations at the Office of Auditor General Ellen Chikale, Monday, Auditor General Dick Sichembe implored auditees to ensure that their records are ready for audit for the final year ending 2020.

“Auditor General Dr. Dick Chellah Sichembe says the audit of accounts for the financial year ended 31st December 2020 has commenced with a clarion call to auditees to ensure that their book of account and other records are put in order in readiness for the audit. Dr. Sichembe says the Office will not suspend any audits this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic but will carry out the work within the laid down health guidelines. He said, in this regard, auditees must be ready and facilitate for smooth flow of information even with the rotational work schedules that have been put in place in Ministries, Provinces and Agencies (MPAs) as directed by the Secretary to Cabinet,” read the statement.

“The Auditor General stressed that the tendency by auditees of not providing information to auditors during the audit process will not be entertained and should be a thing of the past. To this effect, the Office has already started issuing Engagement Letters which spell out the timelines and the information required. Dr. Sichembe further observed that transparency and accountability is the backbone of good corporate governance which all auditees should uphold. He said it is a requirement by law that auditees provide information to Auditors and this must be done within the given timelines as failure to do so is an offence according to Section 82 (1) (k) of the Public Finance Management Act number 1 of 2018. Therefore, adherence to the timelines is non-negotiable as the Auditor General is required by the Constitution to submit the report on accounts of the preceding financial year by 30th September every year. Dr. Sichembe wishes all auditees well in the discharge of their duties in 2021.”