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The Role of Auditor-General

INTRODUCTION

  1. Under Article 148F(3) of the Constitution of the Republic of Singapore (1999 Revised Edition), it is the duty of the Auditor-General to audit and report on the accounts of all the departments and offices of the Government, the Public Service Commission, the Legal Service Commission, the Supreme Court, all subordinate courts and Parliament. Under Article 148F(4), the Auditor-General shall perform such other duties and exercise such other powers in relation to the accounts of the Government and accounts of other public authorities and other bodies administering public funds as may be prescribed by or under any written law. The Auditor-General has also been given the additional duty under Article 148G(1) to inform the President of any proposed transaction by the Government which, to his knowledge, is likely to draw on reserves which were not accumulated during its current term of office.

  2. Under Section 8(1) of the Audit Act (Cap. 17, 1999 Revised Edition), the Financial Statements of the Government of Singapore prepared in accordance with Section 18 of the Financial Procedure Act shall be transmitted to the Auditor-General for audit and his report thereon.

  3. In discharging his duties, the Auditor-General is required under Section 5 of the Audit Act to make such examination as he may consider necessary to ascertain whether all reasonable steps have been taken:

    1. to safeguard the collection and custody of public moneys or other moneys subject to his audit;

    2. to ensure that issues and payments of moneys subject to his audit were made in accordance with proper authority and payments were properly charged and supported by sufficient vouchers or proof of payment; and

    3. ensure that the provisions of the Constitution, the Financial Procedure Act (Chapter 109, 1992 Revised Edition) and any other written law relating to moneys or stores subject to his audit have been, in all respects, complied with.

  4. An audit under Section 5(c) of the Audit Act would require checks to ensure compliance with (inter alia) provisions of the Financial Procedure Act including the Financial Regulations (Cap. 109, Rg 1). In assessing compliance with the Financial Regulations, AGO would check whether ministries and organs of state have in place precautions against (inter alia) negligence and measures to detect apparent extravagance. In other words, AGO would also check whether there has been excess, extravagance or gross inefficiency tantamount to waste.

  5. Section 8(7) of the Audit Act allows the Auditor-General to generally comment on all matters relating to public accounts, public moneys and public stores.

  6. As allowed under Section 4(1)(a) of the Audit Act, the Auditor-General may audit the accounts of statutory boards if this is so provided for in the Acts constituting the boards. The Auditor-General may also carry out selective audits of statutory boards as provided for under a Ministry of Finance (MOF) circular, read with Section 4(4) of the Audit Act. The MOF circular stipulates that the Auditor-General may carry out, on a selective basis, audits to check for financial regularity and to ascertain whether there has been excess, extravagance, or gross inefficiency tantamount to waste, and whether measures to prevent them are in place.

  7. Where it is not provided for under any written law, the Auditor-General may, with the consent of the Minister for Finance, audit the accounts of a public authority or body administering public funds if the public authority or body concerned requests him to do so. This is provided for under Section 4(1)(b) of the Audit Act.

  8. AGO’s audits are carried out on a test check basis and are therefore not intended to reveal all errors and irregularities. However, the audit checks carried out should enable the Auditor-General to discover some of the occasional serious lapses when public moneys and stores have not been properly controlled or used, when revenue has not been collected or when expenditure has not been incurred in accordance with proper authority.

  9. The Audit Report for every financial year ended March is submitted to the President in accordance with Section 8(9) of the Audit Act. It does not report findings from every audit done by the Auditor-General's Office. Only certain findings are selected for inclusion in the Report.

Last updated on 23 Apr 2012

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