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Volcker's thumbs-up for Indian auditing
November 08, 2005 17:37 IST
The Volcker Committee's findings reflect that auditing in India, which was the lead auditor for the UN's Oil-for-Food programme for Iraq in the initial years, is very vigorous, Comptroller and Auditor General V N Kaul said on Tuesday.
The report did not have any adverse comment on Indian auditors, he told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop.
"Nothing was communicated to us about the Volcker Committee report," the CAG said. India did audit according to UN Auditing Standards and had excellent standards maintained according to UN auditing norms, he said.
India is still on the UN panel of auditors. India was the lead auditor for the programme in 1997-98 with Ghana and United Kingdom as members in the UN's Board of Auditors.
India was replaced by the Philippines in 1999, while South Africa and France joined BOA in place of Ghanna and UK.
The Volcker Committee states in chapter 2, Volume IV that in early years (through 1999), the audit scope was broad, covering both financial and reporting aspects and critical operational activities of the programme and the agencies. However, subsequent audits had a much narrower scope."
'After 1999, BOA substantially reduced its assessments of the pricing of oil and humanitarian goods contracts. Very large areas, amounting to over 70 billion dollars in transactions from 2000 onwards were widely suspected of being manipulated by the Iraqi regime,' says the report.
The report further says, 'When asked why it decreased its audit scope and testing of critical areas such as oil and humanitarian contracts, BOA indicated that it had no definitive reason.'
The Oil-for-Food Programme started in 1996 and its first auditing was done in 1997.
It is the fifth and final report of the Independent Inquiry Committee appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in April, 2004, known as Volcker Commiteee, to investigate the administration and management of the programme that had listed External Affairs Minister K Natwar Singh as well as Congress party as non-contractual beneficiaries.
Earlier addressing a Asian Organsiation of Supreme Audit Institutions seminar on Performance audit, Kaul said performance audit is structured around concepts and principles that translate intentions of legislative branch into policies and programmes by the executive.The 12-day workshop is being participated by representatives of 39 countries and is part of annual training programmes being conducted by the organisation.