OIA “not authorized” to carry out audit requested by Lolo
The U.S. Interior Department’s Office of Insular Affairs (OIA) has informed Gov. Lolo Matalasi Moliga that the OIA “is not authorized” to conduct the type of audit requested by the new administration.
Lolo made the request in late November prior to being sworn into office on Jan. 3 this year. Lolo wanted a “comprehensive financial audit” of all local government finances to obtain, among other things, “accurate financial information to guide decisions relative to the establishment of new revenue generation strategies and expenditure containment measures.”
In her reply letter last week, DOI acting deputy assistant secretary for Insular Areas, Eileen Sobeck, agreed with Lolo that in order to establish priorities and identify actions designed to increase efficiency and effectiveness of operations and services, “government leaders must have comprehensive, timely and accurate financial information regarding available resources.”
“OIA is not authorized, however, to conduct the type of audit that you requested,” said Sobeck, who noted that the DOI’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) is authorized to conduct audits for DOI.
She said Lolo’s request was discussed with OIG and she was informed that the reviews the OIG performs are “normally programmatic or operational rather than financial”.
She did point out that OIA is aware that the audit firm of Moss, Adams LLP is currently reviewing ASG’s financial data for fiscal year 2012 and discussions with the auditing firm “may very well provide the time-sensitive information you are seeking in the quickest manner.”
And if desired, she said OIA staff familiar with processes may be made available to assist the ASG team.
“I am hopeful that through your leadership, the ASG team will be able to review the detailed FY 2012 information, the summaries prepared for the auditors and similar detailed information for FY 2013 to assess the true financial situation of ASG in the manner that you are seeking,” she wrote.
Additionally, the review should be completed with consideration of the qualifications and findings identified in the Single Audit Report of ASG for FY 2011.
Sobeck explained that much of OIA’s resources are dedicated to assist insular governments to produce accurate financial data. Moreover, targeted training has been provided to insular government personnel to help improve accuracy and efficiency in daily tasks and processes.
“The focuses have been on building local capacity by enhancing the skills necessary for developing solutions to actual challenges, primarily those challenges identified in reviews completed by various OIGs and the U.S. Government Accountability Office,” she said.
Additionally, OIA monitors the insular government’s progress in completing the annual audits required under federal law, with the support of OIA.
She said OIA has a “continuing commitment to the people of American Samoa” and looks forward to meeting Lolo next month in Washington D.C. for meetings of the National Governors Association and the annual meeting of the federal Interagency Group on Insular Areas (IGIA).
There is no confirmation yet from the Governor’s Office if Lolo will be attending these meetings in the nation’s capital.