REG on the spot for failing to comply with audit timelines

Sunday July 19 2020

power

Rwanda Energy Group was ranked among key entities whose financial statements are questionable. .Photo | Cyril Ndegeya  

JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
By JOHNSON KANAMUGIRE
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Rwanda Energy Group (REG) accountability has come under scrutiny once again after details of its spending of public resources allocated to it and those it generates failed to feature in the latest Auditor General's report.

According to the Auditor-General, the company management denied his office access to its books, leaving details about its operations missing in his 2019 report tabled in Parliament on May 15.

But REG management was quick to state the audit did not take place because of Covid-19 lockdown.

Rwanda Today established that while the office of Auditor General had notified REG about their audit on April 6, it was until mid-May that the state agen-cy responded, days after the report had been tabled in parliament.

Auditor General Obadiah Biraro told Rwanda Today according to procedures, his office did not hear from REG management until the audit cycle for the year ended.

“As per our process, which is based on international best practices, we don’t simply come and bang the institution’s doors. They are the ones to tell the Auditor General their convenience.
Even when we come, they are allowed to tell us their schedule but that was not done, so we simply say we were denied access,” he said.

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Mr Biraro indicated that this sets a bad precedent and raised questions in regards to the company's compliance with the accountability norms, regulations as well as laws which set time limits of auditing all institutions receiving state funds.

REG had received adverse audit opinion for the third consecutive year in 2018 after auditors flagged inefficiencies in the manner in which the company utilised the budget, with cases of delayed power projects or investments in non viable projects and idle assets.

The institution was ranked among key entities that are of national importance whose financial statements are not reliable and do not provide proper accountability for resources managed by it.

REG acting external link coordinator Prosper Mubera Birori explained that the audit did not take place due to the Covid-19 lockdown, which left company branches closed.

“We cannot deny the Auditor General access because REG is not above the law. REG received his letter with April 6 as the audit date and that was a week into the lockdown. It was difficult to carry out financial audit when all our staff are not in the office,” he said.

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