Audit reports should be released during election periods: Auditor General

Auditor General Niyaz Ibrahim has said that people are in need of important information related to the government during election periods, and in order for people to make the best decision, audit reports should be released during election periods.

Niyaz said that people should not see it as a problem when audit reports are released during election periods.

He said that no audit report had been released with the intention of benefiting or damaging particular groups of people, and that in a democratic environment, people are most in need of information during election periods.

He stressed that when audit reports are released during election periods, it is not done for a political purpose; rather the Auditor General’s Office would release reports as they are finalised, regardless of the time or season.

He said that governments in some developed countries had fallen following the release of audit reports, and that it is the duty of the auditor general to convey information related to the government’s audits to the public.

When asked by a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts about the effectiveness of the work of the Auditor General’s Office, Niyaz said that the performance of the Auditor General’s Office was ‘nowhere near satisfactory’.

He said that time is required to improve the performance of the office, and stressed that an institution cannot be improved ‘overnight’.

Niyaz said that he had been threatened by various groups following the release of some audit reports, but received no suitable protection in relation to such threats thus far.

This remark by the auditor general, that it is not a problem to release audit reports during election periods, comes shortly after it was revealed in an audit report that the former government, of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), spent MVR 436.6 million without parliament approval for the SAARC Summit held in Addu City in 2011.