Fiji Consolidated Legislation
LAWS OF FIJI
Ordinance No. 4 of 1969, 32 of 1970,
Act No. 36 of 1971
AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR THE DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL AND FOR THE AUDITING OF PUBLIC ACCOUNTS AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES INCIDENTAL THERETO AND CONNECTED THEREWITH
[1st March, 1969]
1. This Act may be cited as the Audit Act.
2. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-
"accounting officer" includes every public officer who is charged with the duty of collecting, receiving or accounting for, or who in fact collects, receives or accounts for, any public moneys or who is charged with the duty of disbursing, or who does in fact disburse, any public moneys, and every public officer who is charged with the receipt, custody or disposal of, or the accounting for, public stores or other property in the possession of Government or who in fact receives, holds, disposes of or accounts for public stores or other property in the possession of Government;
"Auditor-General" means the person appointed as *Auditor-General or who acts as such from time to time;
"public moneys" means all revenue, loan, trust and other moneys and all stamps, bonds, debentures and other securities whatsoever raised or received by or on account of the Government; and for the avoidance of doubt includes moneys received or held on trust by the Public Trustee, the Official Receiver or any public officer for purposes other than the purposes of Government.
3. -(1) The *Auditor-General shall not hold any office of profit under the Crown other than the office of *Auditor-General.
(2) The provisions of the law and regulations relating to the public service shall apply to the *Auditor-General, except where such provisions are in conflict with the provisions of the Constitution, this Act or any other law for the time being in force.
*Amended by Order 8th October, 1970.
4. Every person appointed to act as the *Auditor-General, during the period he is so acting, shall have and may exercise all the powers and authority of, and shall perform the duties imposed upon, the *Auditor-General by the Constitution, this Act or any other law for the time being in force.
Staff of Audit Department
5.-(1) The staff required to assist the *Auditor-General in the performance of his duties shall be composed of such officers as he, with the sanction of *Parliament may determine.
(2) Anything which under the authority of this Act is directed to be done by the *Auditor-General, other than the certifying and reporting of accounts for *Parliament, may be done by any officer of his staff so authorised by him.
Duties of *Auditor-General
6.-(1) The *Auditor-General shall, on behalf of *Parliament, and in such manner as he deems necessary, examine, inquire into and audit the accounts of all accounting officers.
(2) The *Auditor-General shall satisfy himself-
(a) that the accounts have been faithfully and properly kept;
(b) that all reasonable precautions have been taken to safeguard the collection of public moneys and that the laws, directions or instructions relating thereto have been duly observed;
(c) that expenditure has been properly authorised and applied to the purposes for which funds were appropriated by *Parliament, and has been otherwise properly accounted for; and that the regulations and procedures applied are sufficient to secure an effective control over expenditure, and that it has been incurred with due regard to economy and avoidance of waste and extravagance;
(d) that adequate stores regulations and procedures have been made to ensure the proper receipt, issue and custody of stores and other property of whatsoever nature, and that such regulations have been duly observed; and
(e) that the provisions of the Constitution and of the Finance (Control and Management) Act, and of any other law relating to moneys or stores subject to his audit have been in all respects complied with.
Powers of *Auditor-General
7.-(1) In the exercise of his duties under this Act, the *Auditor-General may-
(a) call upon any officer for any explanation and information he may require;
(b) authorise any officer on his behalf to conduct any inquiry, examination or audit, and such officer shall report thereon to him:
Provided that any such authority shall be subject to the concurrence of the head of the department in which the officer concerned is employed;
*Amended by Order 8th October, 1970.
(c) without payment of any fee cause search to be made in and extracts taken from any book, document or record in any public office;
(d) examine upon oath, declaration or affirmation (which oath, declaration or affirmation the *Auditor-General is hereby empowered to administer) all persons whom he may think fit to examine respecting the receipt or expenditure of money or the receipt or issue of any stores affected by the provisions of this Act and respecting all other matters and things whatsoever necessary for the due performance and exercise of the duties and powers vested in him;
(e) lay before the Attorney-General a case in writing as to any question regarding the interpretation of any Act or regulation concerning the discharge of his duties, and the Attorney-General shall give a written opinion on such case.
(2) In the exercise of his duties under this Act, the *Auditor* General or any person duly authorised by him shall be entitled-
(a) to have access to all records, books, accounts, vouchers, documents, cash, stamps, securities, stores or other Government property under the control of any officer;
(b) to send for and have the custody of any records, books, accounts, vouchers or documents under the control of any officer, and to keep such records, books, accounts, vouchers or documents for such time as he may require them.
(3) Any person examined pursuant to the provisions of paragraph (d) of subsection (1) who gives a false answer to any question put to him or makes a false statement or any matter knowing that answer or statement to be false or not knowing or believing it to be true shall be deemed to be guilty of perjury and shall be liable to be prosecuted and punished accordingly.
8.-(1) The operation of section 7 shall not be limited by any provision (including a provision relating to secrecy) contained in any other *Act except to the extent to which any such other Act expressly excludes the operation of that section.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act and notwithstanding the making of any oath or declaration of secrecy, a person shall not be guilty of an offence by reason of anything done by him for the purposes of section 7.
(3) The *Auditor-General or any other person shall not divulge or communicate, except in the course of duty to another person performing duties under this Act, any information which has come to his knowledge directly or indirectly in accordance with the provisions of section 7 in any case in which the person from whom such information has been obtained, or from whose custody were produced, the accounts, books, documents or papers from which such information was derived could not, but for the provisions of this Act lawfully have divulged that information to the *Auditor-General or such other person.
(4) Subsection (3) shall not prevent the making, divulging or communicating in any report of the *Auditor-General of conclusions, observations or recommendations which are based on information obtained in accordance with the provisions of section 7.
* Amended by Order 8th October, 1970.
t Amended by Order 13th November, 1970
Test audits, defective vouchers
9.-(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 6 and 7, the *Auditor-General may, after satisfying himself that the vouchers have been examined and certified as correct by an accounting officer, in his discretion and having regard to the character of the departmental examination, in any particular case admit the sums so certified in support of the charges to which they relate without further examination.
(2) Where a voucher has been lost or destroyed, or where an existing voucher is defective in any respect, the *Auditor-General, if satisfied with the explanation given by the responsible officer or with other evidence of the transaction, may dispense with the production of a voucher, or in the case of a defective voucher, accept such voucher.
Notification of serious irregularities
10. If, at any time in the opinion of the *Auditor-General, serious irregularities have occurred in the receipt, custody or expenditure of public moneys or in the receipt, custody, issue, sale, transfer or delivery of any stamps, securities, stores or other Government property or in the accounting for the same, he shall bring the matter to the notice of the *Minister responsible for finance.
11. Within a period of six months after the close of each financial year or such longer period thereafter as *Parliament may, by resolution,
appoint, the *Minister responsible for finance shall transmit to the *Auditor-General the accounts and statements referred to in
section 23 of the Finance (Control and Management) Act together with such other statements as *Parliament may from time to time require.
Annual report of *Auditor-General
12.-(1) The *Auditor-General shall prepare and transmit to the *Minister responsible for finance within a period of eight months after the close of each financial year or such longer period thereafter as *Parliament may, by resolution, appoint, a report upon his examination and audit of all accounts relating to public moneys, stamps, securities, stores and other Government property, together with certified copies of the statements and accounts referred to in section 11.
(2) The *Minister responsible for finance shall lay such report on the table of *Parliament within thirty days of its receipt by him or if *Parliament is not in session at its next meeting.
(3) The *Auditor-General may, at any time if he considers it desirable, transmit a special report to the *Minister responsible for finance for presentation in like manner to *Parliament. Such special report may be made on any matter incidental to his powers and duties under this Act.
*Amended by Order 8th October, 1970.
Audit of other bodies
13.-(1) Where by under the provisions of any other law, the *Auditor-General is appointed to audit the accounts of any body corporate or other body established by such law, he-
(a) shall have, in relation to any such corporate body or other body and its members, officers and employees, the same discretion and powers as are conferred upon him by sections 6 and 7 in relation to the accounts of accounting officers;
(b) may authorise any person publicly carrying on the profession of accountant or any public officer to inspect, examine or audit the books and accounts of any body which he may be required to examine and audit pursuant to the provisions of this section and such person or officer shall report thereon to the *Auditor-General in such manner as he may direct:
Provided that any such authority given to a public officer shall be subject to the concurrence of the head of the department in which the officer is employed.
(2) The *Auditor-General may, if so requested, audit the accounts of any body other than those specified in subsection (1), if, in the opinion of the *Minister responsible for finance, the public interest so requires, and in the exercise of his duties under this subsection the *Auditor-General shall have the same discretion and powers as are conferred upon him by the said subsection.
(3) Except as otherwise provided by any other law, the *Auditor-General shall certify and may report on his examination and audit of any account specified in subsections (1) and (2) and, in addition, may also submit such account and report to the *Minister responsible for finance who shall cause them to be laid before *Parliament at the next meeting thereof.
(4) The fee for any audit effected in accordance with this section shall be determined by the *Auditor-General and be charged upon the funds of the authority or body concerned, and shall be credited to the Consolidated Revenue Account.
* Amended by Order 8th October, 1970.
Controlled by Ministry of Finance.