Scores of audit recommendations remain unimplemented: Auditor General

June 06, 2024 - 06:58
The State Audit Office has issued 1,345 financial reports in the past five years, with 19 cases being flagged for potential legal violations.
State Auditor General Ngô Văn Tuấn responds to questions at the National Assembly on Wednesday. — VNA/VNS Photo Nguyễn Phương Hoa

HÀ NỘI — There are still scores of audit recommendations going unheeded, amounting to more than VNĐ67 trillion (US$2.6 billion).

That was the response of Ngô Văn Tuấn, State Auditor General of the State Audit Office, to National Assembly Deputy Mai Thị Thúy's question on Wednesday.

The Q&A session was part of the ongoing seventh session of the 15th National Assembly.

Deputy Ma Thị Thúy from Tuyên Quang expressed her concern that about 59 per cent of audit recommendations remain unimplemented, due to audited parties dragging their feet. She questioned the SAG about the issue and requested solutions.

The State Auditor General acknowledged the delays and said his office is working on ways to ensure audited entities follow through on audit findings.

Another question raised by deputy Nguyễn Thị Yến Nhi from Bến Tre was why so few cases uncovered by auditors have been referred to the police for investigation.

Tuấn said his office had issued 1,345 financial reports in the past five years, with 19 cases being flagged for potential legal violations.

Despite a few cases ending up with investigators, the office had spared no effort in fighting corruption. It had provided 1,609 dossiers to inspection agencies to support their investigations and prosecutions.

He pledged to continue providing comprehensive dossiers to the agencies and enhancing the quality of audit reports to facilitate the identification and prosecution of fraudsters.

Deputy Hà Đức Minh from Lào Cai questioned the SAG about the accountability of the State Audit Office if there are discrepancies between audit findings conducted by the office and subsequent investigations by other agencies.

Tuấn responded by emphasising the legal framework regulating accountability in cases of discrepancies. He cited Article 68 of the Law on Prevention and Combating Corruption, which holds audit agencies responsible for addressing such inconsistencies.

In cases where audit reports do not detect any violations but subsequent investigations by other agencies reveal wrongdoing, a thorough investigation into the matter is necessary.

If any fault is found, appropriate action will be taken, whether in the form of criminal or administrative charges and the law clearly outlines the responsibilities of auditors and the office in such cases.

Tuấn also addressed a concern raised by Deputy Nguyễn Ngọc Sơn from Hải Dương regarding the 'qualified with exceptions' audit opinion and its impact on audit quality.

Tuấn explained that the office has the authority to issue four types of opinions, namely unqualified opinion, qualified opinion with exceptions, adverse opinion and disclaimer of opinion.

He said while the 'qualified with exceptions' opinion does not compromise the overall quality of the audit, it does affect the effectiveness of the office's activities.

This opinion is typically issued when an audited entity fails to provide sufficient documentation to the audit team, hindering its ability to draw definitive conclusions and recommendations.

He also revealed that the office had issued 663 reports recommending disciplinary action against individuals over the past five years.

Following Tuấn's questioning, the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Văn Hùng faced questions regarding cultural topics in tourism.

Deputy Châu Quỳnh Dao from Kiên Giang expressed concerns about the growing trend of replicating foreign tourism products, arguing that it could erode Việt Nam's cultural identity.

In response, the Minister highlighted the positive growth of Việt Nam's tourism sector in the first five months of the year, attributing it to the enactment of two legal documents issued by the Government.

He acknowledged the existence of some products that deviate from the legal guidelines but emphasised the importance of cultural exchange and the need to embrace elements from other cultures to enhance Việt Nam's cultural heritage.

Deputy Vũ Thị Liên Hương from Quảng Ngãi underlined the potential of 'night tourism' to revitalise Việt Nam's tourism industry and requested the Minister to share his thoughts on this matter.

The Minister responded by underlining the government's Decision NO.1129 on Approving the Scheme for the Nighttime Economy, which tasked the Ministry with developing night tourism products.

He revealed that the Ministry had introduced night tourism products in 12 provinces and cities and obtained positive feedback from tourists. However, the Ministry, he said, still had a lot to do before 'night tourism' could gain traction across the country. — VNS