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SAV audit finds wrongdoing in state agencies, projects

Update: March, 20/2015 - 16:30
The office of the State Audit Office of Viet Nam. This year, SAV will audit 198 State agencies and projects after discovering alleged misuse of more than US$1 billion of State funding last year. — Photo sav.gov.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The State Audit Office of Viet Nam has asked concerned agencies to deal with the problematic use of VND23,431 billion (US$1,092 million) in 2013 by state agencies and projects.

This was revealed at a press conference held today in Ha Noi to announce the State Audit Office's (SAV) 2015 work plan. It was also mentioned the SAV audited these agencies and projects in 2014.

The SAV's findings, after compiling results of 188 out of 191 audits completed by it so far, showed that of the above-mentioned sum, VND4,366 billion ($204 million) should be collected in addition to what the agencies and projects had paid into the State budget; VND6,897 billion ($321 million) was overspent by them; there was a difference of VND3,328 billion ($155 million) between the true debt incurred by them and what they had declared to the competent authority; and, VND8,808 billion ($410 million) should have been paid into or administered by the State budget, but it was not.

The SAV has transferred one case (a company) to the investigating agency for further investigation after discovering that it had violated the law. The agency has also been asked to handle the accountability of several individuals and agencies allegedly found guilty of wrongdoings.

The SAV has proposed the government should revise 89 documents and nullify 10 others issued by the government, ministries and departments and local governments.

In 2014, the agency conducted audits in 35 provinces and centrally governed cities, 14 ministries and government departments, 37 national projects and programmes, and 21 thematic (specialised, chiefly scientific or intensively professional) projects, as well as 41 institutions in the sectors of national defence, security and party, and 40 organisations such as companies, financial organisations and banks, in addition to two audits of operation (which were chiefly technical and unrelated to finance or use of budget allocations).

Cao Tan Khong, vice-head of the SAV, said the official results of the 2014 audit would not be known till July or August, due to a multiple-step procedure involving several other agencies.

Khong explained the audit process as beginning with a team of SAV auditors visiting an entity and producing the initial audit findings, after which another team is set up specifically to check those initial results. For serious cases, an SAV inspection team might be formed to perform additional audits. After all this, the SAV establishes an in-house council to consider their findings and send them to the concerned entities for feedback. Based on the collected feedback, a ministry-level council, involving SAV and other relevant ministries, is convened to present their final say before releasing the official audit results.

Plans for 2015

In 2015, the SAV plans to audit 198 entities.

They will audit the management and use of State budget allocations and assets in 19 ministries and central agencies in 2014, and the 2014 budgets of 50 provincial governments.

They will scrutinise the planning and administration of funds at 48 State-funded investment projects, and examine the financial reports and use of State funding in 30 State corporations and commercial banks.

Fourteen "thematic" projects with a large coverage (implemented in a great number of provinces) or of great socio-economic importance, such as the National Target Programme on New-Style Rural Area Development, will also go through SAV audits.

Organs under the ministries of national defence and public security (including 30 provincial police units) and the party (eight provincial party's committees) will be also SAV's audit targets this year, with regard to their administration and use of State funding and assets.

Emphasis on professionalism

This year will see the SAV conduct eight audits of operation, which means auditing entities on operational effectiveness and efficiency.

This number is higher than the two similar audits conducted in 2014.

SAV leader Khong said this signifies the SAV's efforts to train its auditors into becoming industry specialists, who are highly knowledgeable about certain domains and closely follow updates, especially in terms of policy.

He compared his agency with audit institutions elsewhere in the world, saying that SAV has been operational for nearly 21 years and was still evolving, while the latter have existed for a long time, from 100 to 300 years.

"We choose to employ excellent graduates, but it takes some time to groom them before they are ready to take on official work, as this business is particularly specialised," Khong said, adding his agency was receiving more orders from customers than they could accommodate due to their fledging and small workforce.

Because of this, Bui Duc Thu of the National Assembly's committee for financial and budgetary affairs -- who was invited to co-chair the press conference -- said for the time being, the SAV would stay focused on prioritising the targeted State agencies and projects as a foundation to facilitate the National Assembly's approval of their State budget-use statements. — VNS

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