17 July, 2017, 12:00 am
THE Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) has come under the spotlight of the Auditor-General for failure to submit its annual accounts and other books of accounts for audit purposes.
In his 2016 audit report the Auditor-General said the AMA did not submit its annual financial statements to the Auditor-General for the years 2010 to 2015 for audit.
He said the AMA facilitated the purchase, sale and export of agro produce and the Ministry of Agriculture had been administering the operating and capital grants for AMA and had given a total of $9,628,647 for the years 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
The Auditor-General’s report said enquiries made with the Senior Economic Planning Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture who oversees the administration of this grant revealed that, the accounting records from 2010 were held by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC) pending investigation.
The report said in the absence of the annual financial statements the audit could not ascertain whether the grants issued to the authority have been properly accounted for.
In his recommendation the Auditor-General said the ministry together with the authority should make a concerted effort to obtain the accounting records from FICAC, in order for the annual financial statements to be prepared and submitted to the Auditor-General for audit.
In its response the Ministry of Agriculture said it had noted the audit comment and confirmed that the annual financial statements were still outstanding.
It said the ministry had followed up with the Agricultural Marketing Authority (AMA) last year to submit their unaudited annual financial statement however; they informed that they could not submit any report because of the pending FICAC case.
“The permanent secretary in his recent meeting with the acting chairman for AMA had discussed the urgent need to provide the outstanding financial statements including all the pending authority’s annual reports mandated under the Administering Act. The ministry has also written to the AMA on the matter.”