The National Audit Authority gave good marks to the government in its audit of government spending in 2004, which was discussed in parliament Monday and Tuesday. But the NAA also said that many government bodies had failed to provide adequate documentation of those expenditures.
The National Assembly approved the government’s 2004 budget expenditures Tuesday after a day and a half of sometimes heated debate.
“The national auditor believes that the draft law on the 2004 expenditures is appropriate and acceptable,” the NAA’s conclusion begins.
It adds that the authority “observed that the ministries, institutions, provinces and municipalities had not complied with the law on financial revenue and expenditures.”
Government bodies did not try their best to collect revenue and were left with many debts during 2004, the report adds.
“Some expenditures did not have any legal documents and the withdrawals [of money] did not comply with the financial law,” it continues.
The report does not state which government bodies were not in compliance with the law.
The NAA, however, does single out the National Bank of Cambodia for providing adequate financial documentation.
NAA Auditor-General Ut Chhorn said Tuesday the authority had already sent all its findings to the Assembly but declined to comment further.
Speaking at the Assembly on Tuesday, Finance Ministry Secretary of State Ouk Rabun singled out the Senate for failing to produce all the required financial documentation.
Senate Secretary-General Oum Sarith denied this was the case.
“Every year we send a report, after the [Senate] Permanent Committee reviews it, to the Finance Ministry,” Oum Sarith said. “If the ministry needs more, we will send it, but we gave everything they asked for,” he maintained.
The audit report states that although customs officers collected nearly 5 percent more in tax revenue than anticipated in 2004, this was still far below the potential customs revenues that could have been taken in.
The Ministry of Finance should also improve its management of state assets, the audit concludes—noting that 1,006 government institutions were making use of state assets in 2004, but only 352 had reported these assets to the ministry.
Ouk Rabun said his ministry was satisfied with the work authorities have conducted to collect revenue for the government. The Finance Ministry’s list of state assets is still incomplete, but the ministry is working to get all state property accounted for, he added.
SRP lawmaker Son Chhay said he believed that the NAA’s report was not factual.
“Always, they sort of negotiated [with government bodies] instead of investigating them,” he claimed.