Recently appointed Auditor General (AG), Phil Sharman who during a media interview in August announced that he is not intimidated by the amount of work he had to do has reportedly left the Territory and allegedly the post of Auditor General.
The announcement that Mr. Sharman might not return was made by Leader of the Opposition and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie during the House of Assembly on 13 December.
In making the announcement Hon. Fahie said: “I understand that the Auditor General won’t be back. I don’t know what frightened him. Probably when he saw what he had to do he was gone… He won’t be back here. He gone.”
During his August interview. Sharman told reporters that his office was working on the backlog of public reports and audits: “My function and my keen interest now is to bring the accounts up to date for the following years which are 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Those are presently with my office and I now need to determine a strategy for taking those, for completing those audits and bringing them back to the House all audited and fair and square,” he said.
Hon. Fahie is also the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee and Auditor General Sharman had promised to work with the PAC. In fact, he told reporters back in August that despite the backlog awaiting his attention he intends to fulfill this obligation to the Public Accounts Committee.
“That is precisely the function of the Auditor — not only the audit of the public accounts but also the supporting of the Public Accounts Committee and their work; and the general promotion of good governance and accountability right across the islands. That is the job that I am hired to do and that is the job that I will do,” the AG said.
In fact, Mr. Sharman said that while he works to clear another audit, the PAC can commence its dissecting of the 2010, and 2011 audits that were previously laid in the House of Assembly. “Presently as I mentioned we have the Auditor’s report for 2010 and 2011. The initial function of the PAC now that those have been laid before the House is to call those in, hear the evidence and prepare their report on those two units. That in itself could take some time. In the background, we are producing the accounts for the subsequent period.”
“The Public Accounts Committee is mandated automatically to look at the work of the Auditor that is their function. Those reports have been laid and it is quite proper now for those to be called in by the PAC and to be examined. Absolutely standard practice,” the Auditor General added.
There has been no formal announcement about the post of Auditor General being vacant.