Kosovo: Office of Auditor General will audit all spending agencies

Prishtinë, May 17, 2006 – The General Auditor of Kosovo, Linda Casella, said at a press conference in Prishtina that the objective of the certified internal auditors and the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) is to enhance, through an independent opinion the credibility of the reported financial information of the public sector entity. “The objective of the OAG is also to foster a spirit of trust between the people of Kosovo and Kosovo’s elected representative bodies,” said Casella.

However, the media criticized the Auditor General for not responding to the questions of the journalists.

Lajm writes that “Casella gave no concrete answers to 20 questions. She gave no detail on the auditing of the Presidency, Assembly and she did not say if the Kosovo Trust Agency (KTA) would be audited.”

Express reports that “Nobody is dealing with the violations in the spending of public funds, revealed by the Office of the General Auditor. The Auditor points the finger to the Government; The Government and the opposition say that the Prosecutor’s Office should deal with this issue, while the latter says that the SRSG’s Office has submitted no reports.”

Zeri reads that “although the reports of the General Auditor, published over the past months reveal mismanagement in ministries and municipalities, the General Auditor Linda Casella gave no further explanations at a press conference, except for the fact that these reports are already public.”

According to dailies, Casella did not comment on the statement of the Minister of Communities and Return, Slavisa Petkovic, who said that “the Auditor did a mistake on purpose when drafting the auditing report on the Ministry of Communities and Return.”

“One thing should be clear. Our responsibility is to conduct the annual audit, to give recommendations and later that particular entity gives us a plan of action to show us how it will implement these recommendations. Any further actions are up to the Government and other competent bodies,” she said.

TVs and dailies report that Casella did not say whether the KTA would be subject of an audit. She referred to the web page of this office to find the responses. “All audits are confidential and I can not say who will be audited,” dailies quote Casella as saying.

“I cannot answer any specific questions. We are respecting the procedures. Any specific control is not the topic of today’s meeting,” she said.

“For every euro we discover being wasted is one more euro allocated to the people of Kosovo in important areas such as Health, Education, Transport, Industry and Trade, Agriculture etc,” dailies quote Casella as saying.

Casella emphasized the OAG has conducted intensive training for about 60 trainee auditors over the last two years and last year the OAG for the first time audited the Kosovo Consolidated Budget 2004.

The General Auditor Office audits around 100 spending agencies per year. According to Casella, the Auditor General – reports to the SRSG as required under Regulation 2002/18, however in due course the OAG will report to the Kosovo Assembly.