By Poyi (Natalie) Leung
Audit Commissioner Ho Veng On said his commission plans to introduce the audit trail technology on public projects hopefully in 2011 in a bid to avoid wasting public funds in a timely manner.
Ho Veng On met with the local media in the Audit Commission office yesterday, where he talked about the plans they are going to implement this year.
He said it is hoped that the research work on audit trails can be completed within this year and then “outcomes can be achieved” in 2011.
An audit trail involves different phases of work and has to do with tracing data. The idea is to be able to identify each step in the process from start to finish.
Ho Veng On said for example a government project has to take five years to complete, the Audit Commission will start the audit trail after the project has begun for a certain period of time and then in phases gradually.
This approach is different from the existing one that the audit work will only be conducted after the entire project is completed.
“An audit trail aims to block loopholes in a timely manner and to avoid wasting resources and public resources when we can still remedy the problems,” Ho Veng On said.
However, when asked whether the light rail transit construction project will be audited by this new technology, he declined to disclose which public projects have been chosen in order “not to create pressure to related government departments”.
He also said that a number of department heads were keen to know more about how an audit trail will be implemented.
In regard to when the Audit Commission will release the next audit report, Ho Veng On assured that related work has always been going on, but was reluctant to reveal what the Commission is specifically working on currently.
He said the public don’t need to be worried, adding “once the work is completed there will be arrangements automatically”.
Ho Veng On vowed that the public interest must be the Audit Commission’s top priority, and it will disclose audit reports in line with law in order to “increase transparency”.
He declined to say when exactly the next audit report will be made public, but confirmed that it won’t be this month.
In addition, Ho Veng On told the reporters the Audit Commission plans to reinforce promotion and publicity in the year ahead.
Staff has been assigned to work with other government departments to promote a “frugal culture” and to increase civil servants’ audit awareness.
The Commission is also going to concentrate on personnel training this year in collaboration with the training centre of the National Audit Office of the People’s Republic of China.
On the other hand, there are a total of 87 members currently working in the Audit Commission, and more than 30 of them are technicians who are responsible for auditing fiscal budget execution.
Ho Veng On said if the Commission hopes to work on more projects, an increase in personnel is necessary but its office in Dynasty Plaza is unable to accommodate more staff anymore.
Therefore the Commission is looking for relocation but Ho said no suitable space had yet been found.