Special Audits by Auditor-General on Government-Related Bodies07 Nov 2016
Parliamentary Question by Mr Leon Perera:
Minister for Finance (a) in the past 20 years, how many Government-related bodies have undergone a special audit by the Auditor-General outside of the regular annual audit exercises by the Auditor-General; and (b) what are the details and rationale of each case.
Parliamentary Reply by Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat:
The Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) annually conducts audits of the Government Financial Statements which covers the accounts of the Ministries, Departments and Organs of State. In addition, it also carries out selective audits on a selection of public agencies which involves checks on their compliance with rules and procedures.
2 Besides these audits, AGO had carried out two special audits over the past 20 years:
i. ‘Healthcare Subsidy Audit’ in 1996
Following a Parliamentary resolution to verify the fees charged and health care subsidy provided by Government polyclinics and public hospitals, including a claim made in Parliament that “health care costs are hardly subsidised at all”, the Select Committee on Verification of Health Care Subsidy of Government Polyclinics and Public Hospitals was formed and AGO was requested to carry out an audit to verify the Government’s health care figures (such as fees charged, subsidy level provided). Government’s health care figures were independently verified by AGO and confirmed to be free from material errors, and the details of AGO’s findings were tabled and debated in Parliament on 30th September 1996 and 10th October 1996 respectively.
ii. “Audit of Aljunied-Hougang-Punggol East Town Council (AHPETC)” in 2014
AGO was directed to carry out an audit of AHPETC’s FY2012 accounts following repeated and serious concerns raised by AHPETC’s auditors. AHPETC’s auditor submitted a disclaimer of opinion on AHPETC’s Financial Statements for FY2011 and FY2012. The auditor also issued a qualified opinion on AHPETC’s other legal and regulatory requirements, stating that AHPETC has not complied with the provisions of the Town Councils Act and Financial Rules in various respects. AGO submitted its report on 6th February 2015, and the details of its findings were debated in Parliament on 12th and 13th February 2015.