By EDDIE OSIFELO
NATIONAL Disaster Management Office in the Ministry for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology, has spent $12 million on disaster relieve activity that was not related to COVID-19.
A thematic compliance audit carried out by Office of the Auditor General on NDMO from 1 April to 31 December 2020, revealed it.
OAG says prior to the advent of COVID-19, the Ministry for Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology was allocated $1,527,423 in the 2020 budget in the account ‘disaster relief’.
This was increased by $33, 617,600 in the Supplementary Appropriation of 2020 in September 2020.
OAG says although NDMO spent over 95% of this budget, some $12 million was spent on disaster relief activity that was not related to COVID-19.
“For example, in the transactions reviewed by the OAG, over $4.5 million of this COVID-19 money was spent on food relief for the victims of Cyclone Harold.
“Technically, this money was appropriated for disaster relief but the Budget commentary makes clear that the intention was that it be used for COVID-19 related disaster relief,” OAG says.
This audit has reviewed whether the NDMO’s procurement activities for disaster relief complied with applicable Acts and Regulations.
The OAG conducted this audit in accordance with International Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions (ISSAI) namely the ISSAI 400: Compliance Audit Principles and ISSAI 4000: Compliance Audit Standard issued by the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI).
The objective of this audit was to assess whether the National Disaster Management Office (NDMO) managed COVID-19 Procurement in accordance with relevant laws, policies and regulations of Solomon Islands Government. These include the Public Financial Management Act 2013, The National Disaster Council Act 1989, Emergency Powers Acts for COVID-19, the Interim Financial Instructions currently in force and the Solomon Islands Government Procurement and Contract Manual (PCAM).