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12 23Sat11012014

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Back Local News ‘$4.3M questioned costs in 2012’

‘$4.3M questioned costs in 2012’

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THE Office of Public Accountability has released its annual report from calendar year 2012, with Public Auditor Doris Flores Brooks emphasizing that despite staffing challenges, OPA has been able to complete audits to meet its goal of ensuring transparency and accountability in the government.

According to the report, a total of $4.3 million in questioned costs and other financial impacts were discovered across the nine performance audits conducted throughout the year.

In addition, OPA addressed 19 procurement appeals, of which eight decisions were resolved through stipulated agreements, three withdrawn, and one dismissed. Procurement appeals resulted in more than $19 million in procurement value over the year.

“We were once a government whose financial audits were behind nearly two years, riddled with opinion qualifications and millions in questioned costs,” Brooks said, adding that financial audits are now timely and result in unqualified “clean” opinions.

However, while most of the agencies receive “clean” audits, the Guam Community College was the only agency deemed a low-risk auditee.

Auditing the auditor

OPA also reports that in the audit review performed by Deloitte & Touche, no management letters citing deficiencies have been issued for several years to OPA.

In addition, OPA undergoes a peer review every three years. OPA was last audited by the Association of Pacific Islands Public Auditors (APIPA) in October 2011.

OPA’s main goal is to be a model of good governance in the Pacific and to receive the Certificate of Excellence from the Government Finance Officers Association.

To further improve the auditing process, OPA is aiming to require government agencies to submit financial audits within six months of the end of the fiscal year to be in line with national standards. Currently, the law requires agencies to issue the financial audit nine months after the end of the fiscal year.

Another of OPA's goals is to have the Department of Administration issue the comprehensive annual financial report with the annual audit.

At present, close to 40 states in the U.S. mainland already meet these goals.

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