The Norwegian government is withholding NOK 3.6 million (about K160 million) for institutional support to the Auditor Generalâ€™s office because of unsatisfactory accountability by the National Audit Office (NAO).
Norway last week suspended its technical support to the Auditor Generalâ€™s office due to poor internal controls, lack of transparency and accountability. Norway is NAOâ€™s leading donor and has been funding NAOâ€™s Institutional Development Programme (IDP) for several years through the Norwegian Embassy.
â€œNo payment to NAO from the embassy has taken place over the last year due to unsatisfactory reporting from NAO to the embassy.
â€œWithin the NAO/Embassy agreement, an amount of 3.6 million NOK [approximately K160 million] out of a total amount of 18 million NOK [about K800 million] is still to be disbursed,â€ said Norwegian Ambassador AsbjÃ¸rn Eidhammer on Thursday in an e-mailed response.
Eidhammer said the withheld institutional support is different from the suspended technical support to NAO from the Office of the Auditor General of Norway (OAGN) when asked whether the suspension of the technical support also means freezing of the institutional support.
â€œSince we have no immediate plans to disburse the remaining amount in the institutional programme, the decision of Norwayâ€™s Auditor General will have no immediate effect on the embassyâ€™s programme,â€ said the Ambassador.
The suspension of the technical support means Norway will not support NAO with its technical expertise development programme which would affect the institutionâ€™s ability to conduct technical audits in government ministries, departments and parastatals to ensure accountability, transparency and good governance.
â€œI am sad to inform you that we still cannot see satisfactory impacts of our collaborative efforts. My concerns are related to issues that are within the reach of NAOâ€™s influence.
â€œThese concerns are first and foremost related to internal control, transparency and accountability in NAO,â€ reads a letter dated June 13 2012 from Auditor General of Norway Jorgen Kosmo to Auditor General Reckford Kampanje.
NAO corporate communications officer Thomas Chafunya on Wednesday said Kampanje has responded to Kosmoâ€™s letter, saying they have expressed interest to have the suspension lifted.
Chafunya, however, said NAO believes the suspension resulted from their delays to submit terms of reference [TORs] to Norway.