Raj: Commission’s financials unaudited since 2008

Fiji Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission director Ashwin Raj. Picture: FT FILE

FIJI Human Rights and Anti-Discrimination Commission (FHRADC) director Ashwin Raj has acknowledged that the commission’s financial accounts for August 2016-July 2017 and August 2017-July 2018 have not been completed.

In response to queries from this newspaper yesterday, he said the reason for this was “that the commission’s financials remained unaudited since 2008”.

“During a meeting with the auditor-general in March 2017, it was agreed that the commission clear its backlog of financial audit before commencing the current audit,” he said.

“The commission confirms that its financials for the period January 2008 to July 2016 were audited by the Office of the Auditor-General in December 2018.

“The commission confirms receipt of the management letter as well as the preliminary report of the auditor-general in April 2018.

“In the interest of fairness, the commission is in the process of seeking an official response from the previous management that includes the chairperson, director and accountant/officer-in-charge before finalising the preliminary report.

“In the meantime, the commission is compiling its financials for the period August 2016 to July 2017 and August 2017 to July 2018 on standards prescribed by the Office of the Auditor-General.

“The commission will outsource the task of preparing its financials for audit to a competent accounting firm by September 2019.

“A director of the commission was appointed in February 2016 and therefore the annual reports for 2016, 2017 and 2018 has been subsequently vetted by the commission’s chairperson and will be submitted as per the requirements under Section 44 of the HRADC Act.”

The FHRADC’s inability to submit annual reports was highlighted in Parliament yesterday by the Opposition during debate on the 2019-2020 budget.

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