MIDA Supports Puntland’s Office of the Auditor General to Improve Service Delivery

Public accounting expert training senior Officer of the Auditor General on financial reporting guidelines. © IOM 2015

Following the collapse of the Somali central government in 1991, the capacity of public institutions has considerably weakened, including government agencies designated to fight corruption and safeguard public property. This lack of accountability and oversight has contributed to the increase of corruption and misuse of public assets. This limited the institutions’ abilities to deliver critically needed public services to the community. These reasons compounded with the ongoing civil war in Somalia, prompted the formation of regional administration, in order to provide much-needed leadership and basic social services. Several key government institutions were established when the Puntland State of Somalia was formed in 1997. This included the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) which was at the time weak due to the limited number of qualified staff.

To contribute to the ongoing stabilization and state building initiative in Somalia, the International Organization for Migration through the Migration for Development in Africa (IOM MIDA) Programme recruited a Public Financial Management Sector Reform and Public Accounting expert, to build the capacity of Puntland's Office of the Auditor General. Since his recruitment in 2013, Mr. Osman Ali successfully trained 8 senior managers to complete the Certificate of International Auditing standard; trained 13 (4 female) on comprehensive financial accounting system; and enrolled 15 (3 female) in English classes to enable effective communication. Furthermore, the program recruited two university graduates as interns who received constant on-the-job training and mentoring from the diaspora expert.

The diaspora expert also successfully introduced systems and documentations from International Standards of Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) and International Standards of Auditing (ISA) that can complement current audit systems. The experts also translated important documents for each phase of the audit process and used it for audit assignments. Lastly, the diaspora expert reviewed the Strategic plan 2014 – 2018 and introduced yearly operational plan and revised the four year budget.

Puntland's Office of teh Accountant General has currently adopted and put into use some of the Regulatory Audit Manual working documentations as part of the internationally acceptable audit methodology. Most of the senior managers hold internationally accredited auditing certificates; this has significantly improved the overall capacity of the Office. “Most of senior staff have today attained international auditing and financial accounting certificates. Thanks to the MIDA project, the capacity of the Office of the Auditor General has now improved,” said Jama Mohamed, Chairman of the Office of the OAG. Furthermore, Mr. Jama added that his office now produces audit reports that are recognized by international donors. “The audit report writing skills of key OAG staff have improved, following subsequent trainings and mentoring by the public sector accounting advisor. As a result, the institution now has the capacity to prepare international standard compliant auditing reports for donors."