Let Auditor General Kilby Show His Own Work

By: Abraham M. Attoh

The Perspective
Atlanta, Georgia
December 7, 2012

Being an Auditor General is far beyond mere education and professional credentials, which the new Auditor General Kilby has demonstrated he lacks. It is about Integrity, which also the new Auditor General does not have. Robert L. Kilby continues to feed the public misinformation.

IT Audit and IT Operation Departments

While reading the Frontpage Africa, Vol. 6 NO.305 dated November 22, 2012, I came across a promotional article in which Kilby asserted that he has created two new departments in GAC. He called the “new departments,” IT Auditing Department and IT Operational Department. This cannot be further from the truth. Both departments were created by former Auditor General John Sembe Morlu, and remain operational under the then Acting Auditor General Nanka.

Prior to the arrival of Mr. Kilby, these two departments were already functional. Mr. George H. Nubo was Chief Technology Officer, spearheading the IT Operational Department and the key staff responsible for integrating GAC IT system with the IFMIS. Mr. Andrew Kemokai was the head of the IT Audit Department, managing a staff of 25 professionals. Mr. Kemokai spent more than a month in India on IT Audit training at the India Audit Office, a program financed by the Auditor General of India. Former AG Morlu established the link to the India Auditor General and in 2010, 10 GAC staff benefitted from various trainings including IT Audit.

Further, the GAC IT Auditing Department benefitted from training financed by the Ministry of Finance under the Economic Governance Reform and Institutional Program (EGRIP), a program sponsored by the World Bank and managed by the Ministry of Finance. Twenty Two (22) GAC IT Auditors and IT Operation Department staff were seconded to the audit offices of Uganda and Zambia in 2011, as part of the plan to roll out IFMIS throughout Government. Uganda and Zambia are amongst the institutions with successful IT Audit and Operation Departments in Africa.

Further in February 2012, the IT operational staff were sent to the Ghana for further training. These external training programs were sponsored by the World Bank.

Hands-On Experience: Ghana, Zambia, World Bank, UNMIL, etc

Kilby in his promo stated that “unlike yesterdays, the new training approach will no longer rely solely on chalk & black boards, but rather real hands-on training with Expert.” Kilby is attempting to portray himself as something else. GAC training under both Morlu and Nanka was not solely done on “chalk & black boards,” as Kilby wants to make the public to believe. Trainings offered during the administration of Morlu and Nanka have been hands-on, and Morlu with vast experience in the field of auditing was engaged in providing hands-on experience for auditors. For instance, more than 33 experienced auditors from Ghana, Zambia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe provided hands-on training for auditors.

All reports done under Morlu were supervised by experienced auditors from at least three Auditors General offices through out Morlu 4 year tenure. In fact, it was Morlu who revolutionized the concept of joint audits within the English speaking Auditor General community in Africa, as a way to leverage lessons learned, to provide hands-on experience for new auditors and improve the quality of audits.

All Liberians know that more than 27 auditors from the Ghana Audit Service arrived in Liberia in January 2008 to assist the GAC to conduct the first batch of audits. In February 2008, 7 highly experienced auditors from Zambia also came in to assist the GAC. All of them provided hands- on experience to the GAC auditors.

In furtherance of Morlu's efforts to continue to provide hands-on experience, Morlu sought and received support from the World Bank. For 2 years until his departure, World Bank provided 5 highly experienced principal auditors to provide hands-on experience to the GAC auditors.

Morlu-Nanka Secured 3.5 Million Euros for GAC

Mr. Kilby failed to indicate in his promo that the EU project that brought Mr. Paul Clarke to Liberia was initiated by Morlu and consummated by Nanka. This is not Kilby's project as he wants to make the public to believe. Morlu recognizing the need for GAC to increase in rank among SAIs established the Performance Audit Department and the IT Audit Department. As a means to ensure that they were fully capacitated, he undertook several training initiatives. In 2008, Mr. Morlu was selected by INTOSAI to work with the Auditor General of Norway, South Africa and Botswana to establish Level Three Standards for Supreme Audit Institutions in Africa. Amongst the requirements to meet Level Three is that each SAI must have a fully functioning Performance Audit Department.

Mr. Kilby had no experience working in a government or private auditing environment. Since 2008, he has been unemployed, languishing in Liberia preaching IT on radio. He was given a simple audit work at Lone Star. He could not perform and so he was dismissed by Lone Star. FrontpageAfrica reported in July 2012 that Mr. Kilby was so broke that he was unable to pay rent for two years and so he was taking to prison, until his lawyer, Cllr. Pierre freed him from jail. So he came to GAC by happenstance and with zero experience in the work of a supreme audit institution. Hence he blundered immediately by ignoring the GAC Five Year Strategic Plan, which has been developed by EU, INTOSAI-IDI, AFROSAI-E and GAC. A key pillar of the strategic plan is to build specialized audit departments in line with Level Three Standards, the 1977 LIMA Declaration, and Chapter 53 of the Executive Law of 1972.

Mr. Kilby, in his ignorance failed to take note of the Level Three Standards. His new organizational chart removed the Performance Audit Department and he denied four performance auditors from traveling to South Africa in September 2012, thus casting doubts over GAC's ability to reach level three in accordance with LIMA Declaration. Under Morlu nearly 18 auditors from the Performance Audit Department received training in Sierra Leone and South Africa. These performance auditors work with AFROSAI-E in producing two performance audit reports that are now public. This was hands-on training with experts’ involvement.

But after the November 2012 Peer Review of AFROSAI-E, Mr. Kilby in his meeting with staff of GAC at the Executive Pavilion noted his mistake and has incorporated the Performance Audit Department in his Chart, again. He has also placed the Public Debt Department back on his chart, but with a new name, Debt Services. It cannot be gainsaid that before Kilby’s realignment process is over, he will be back to the organization chart designed under the administration of Morlu. This shows clearly that Mr. Kilby is impulsive and he came in with a plan to destroy all that was done under Morlu and Nanka. It also shows that Mr. Kilby does not know "what time it is" and as such he is learning on the job. But he failed to inform the public that he has made a big mistake by eliminating departments, which he is now putting back because EU, AFROSAI-E and others have told him he is wrong.

Donor Funded Audits--USAID IG, PFM

Mere changing of department name is not an achievement worthy of boast. In his promo, Mr. Kilby stated this is the first time ever at GAC to begin donor fund auditing. This is another falsehood. Before Mr. Kilby, there was a department called Single Annual Audit, consistent with Section 30 of the PFM Act of 2009. This Department was for donor funding audits and audits of recipients of subsidies and transfers from the Government of Liberia. This Department was headed by Rufus Mahn, who left to work at the Ministry of Finance.

Furthermore, under Morlu and Nanka, GAC conducted numerous audits on donor funding. The donor funding audits included: Nigeria Oil Grant Audit Report, Japanese Rice Audit Report, Japanese Oil, and the Repurchased Debt, amongst others. Also, under Morlu, USAID sponsored an audit of the Ministry of Education Payroll, spending over US$520,000 on that audit. This was the first time USAID trusted the GAC to allow it to conduct an audit on its behalf.

Moreover, in 2010, former Auditor General Morlu asked the Regional Inspector General of USAID to conduct a Peer Review, as a way to allow GAC to conduct audits of USAID funded projects and programs. A Peer Review is a prerequisitive to audit USAID funds anywhere in the world, as a Peer Review would indicate whether the audits conducted meet standards. USAID conducted a Peer Review and gave GAC a provisional approval during the time of Morlu and Mr. Nanka signed the cooperative agreement on behalf of GAC, paving the way for GAC to audit USAID projects. This was not only a confidence in the work of Morlu and Nanka by USAID Inspector General but GAC was the only audit institution in Liberia, private or government, to be granted provisional approval even though private firms also underwent same Peer Review by the Inspector General.

European Union ON GAC After Morlu

In any event, all the actions being taken by Kilby was predicted by EU sponsored independent evaluation of the work of the GAC and future sustainability of GAC after Morlu. In January 2010, EU report indicated this:

“As the success of past GAC actions as well as its institutional credibility is closely linked to the tenure ship of the present Auditor General, funded by the EU and jointly recruited by the GoL and the EU, the sustainability of donor inputs as well as the GAC itself might be “challenged” with the end of his mandate i.e. April 2011."

The Government failed to take note of this review report, and today GAC is in public squabble, a true representation of the President’s description of GAC under Morlu. Since the departure of Morlu on April 27, 2011, the GAC has remained in disarray. The Nanka administration issued 11 reports. Of the 11 reports, 8 of them were in the reporting stage under Morlu. For the period that Nanka served as Acting Auditor General, he only produced three reports on his own. Kilby took over the helm of GAC in August 2012, and is basically not worrying that he does not have a dime to audit, but engaged in trying to destroy the work of his predecessors. This sends a bad signal to the public, as it appears that Kilby is on a mission to kill GAC and destroy the reports produced.

GAC in four years under Morlu is almost on par with Ghana Audit Service that has been in existence for over 100 years. This is an undeniable fact, as GAC is recognized by the United States Government among a few other supreme audit institutions including Ghana to audit USAID funded project. This is a milestone achieved by Morlu in four years. Global Integrity ranked GAC the most performing Government institution in Liberia and that was under Morlu. In January 2011, the President, in spite of her disagreement with Morlu, said to the world that GAC under Morlu has "remained unwavering and committed to its mandate."

President Sirleaf is not a fan of Morlu by any measure but she mustered the courage to say that Morlu performed well. Global Witness, the International Crisis Group and the United Nations all credited Morlu for transforming the financial management system of Liberia. EU in 2010 indicated that GAC under Morlu was the best performing institution in Liberia. The GEMAP interim and final reports all indicated that GAC under Morlu was the most success story in Liberia. The US Embassy honored Morlu on 26 April 2011 for his excellent work in Liberia. It is sad that Kilby will use GAC resources to repeatedly attack Morlu and those who helped him to build the new GAC. Morlu vacated this post on April 27, 2011, and should be considered as a history. No matter the attacks, Mr. Kilby cannot change the splendid and recognized performance of one of Africa's best auditors.

Kilby Must Show Results, As Morlu Did

Former AG Morlu built GAC from scratch. He and his staff clean the GAC building. Mr. Rodney Sieh of FrontpageAfrica visited GAC in 2008 and wrote about the worst condition Morlu worked under in starting the GAC. He indicated in his article that the old executive mansion, the headquarters of GAC in 2008 was "Hold Your Nose and Pass." Morlu first budget in Liberia was a meager US$1.6 million, when at the time the Government of Liberia was spending US$1.2 million to hire KPMG to audit just domestic debt when Morlu was supposed to audit more than 100 institutions and programs on just US$1.6 million. That is the history of the GAC built by Morlu and us, meaning the first 127 staff recruited in November 2007 and others who worked on pro bono to assist the new Auditor General.

Kilby needs to shut up and build on the work of his predecessors rather than attempting to destroy the work of his predecessors. Let his work speak for him as Morlu's work spoke for Morlu. In less than a month of taking office, Morlu produced a 99 page review and analysis of the National Budget, which created the first national debate on the budget and produced instantly a cash addition of US$16.4 million to the National Budget. The first National Budget debate took the budget from US$134 million to US$199 million in a matter of a month and it was because of Morlu's review and analysis of the budget, with Senator Massaley saying "Morlu opened our eyes."

Mr. Kilby has been in office for almost 3 months, and added no value to GAC. Morlu added value in a month's time, taking the national budget from US$134 million to US$199 million. Again, instead of spending months on trying to discredit Morlu and destroy the entire GAC, Liberians would like to see the audit and financial management related work of Mr. Kilby. We are waiting to see; so far he is just talking and talking.

Author: Abraham M. Attoh is former Senior Audit Coordinator, GAC, and former Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Liberia Rubber Development Authority. He holds a B.Sc. Economics, B.Sc. Port & Shipping Administration and MBA in Project Management.

© 2012 by The Perspective
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