Acting Governor opens three-day Audit and Ethics training
Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Acting Governor Talauega E. V. Ale said internal control of government spending is vital and the Audit and Ethics training going on this week will assist government departments and agencies.
The Acting governor made the comments during the opening of the three day training for audits and ethics that started on Tuesday and will conclude today. The sessions are being led by personnel from the Graduate School USA.
“May this experience renew our commitments with ethical decision making in government and audit best practices.
“My only request is that you take the lessons you learn today and make them meaningful to your departments and agencies.”
According to Talauega this is the second of this type of training and that reflects the commitment from Gov. Lemanu P. S. Mauga and his administration and it is for the directors, deputy directors and government staff to honor the obligation they have as public servants.
“To make sure that we are spending public funds for the benefit of all of America Samoa — that's a solemn obligation that we carry and we should honor that and I know everyone of us wants to do good, it's inherent.
“I see a so many departments and I've read all 13 of audit reports and one of the things that shows up repeatedly is a lack of controls.
“Fortunately for you, you will hear from the professor what controls are and how you enforce it. Because what happens to us is the same thing that happens to all our family obligations (fa’alavelave) like when the talking chief shows off (mimika) and he starts dishing out money that the family doesn’t have.
“Despite the family secretary telling the talking chief there is no money, the chief continues — and that happens to us [the government].
“It’s within our nature sometimes because we're good people. We want to show you our love but we can't use other people's money to show our love.”
The acting governor cautioned that the federal government will not hesitate to take action when federal funds are not being used in the proper manner.
“We can't use the federal money to show how much we respect the Paramount Chiefs and all of the people who come to our events. Because what happens if we do that is a white plane will come in the middle of the night and go into your office and take all of your documents — and that’s not good.
“That is why this training is important to the governor. We must learn what control is and such internal controls guide how the funding is spent and if it is spent it should be recorded.”
The training by the Graduate School USA, is funded with support from the Department of the Interior, in conjunction with the Territorial Audit Office (TAO). It is taking place at the Governor Rex Lee Auditorium.
The agenda includes Assessing Controls for Government Employees; Assessing Controls in Performance Audits and Ethical Decision-Making for Government Employees.
Mr. Drummond Kahn, a Certified Internal Auditor, is the instructor and currently serves on the faculty of the Graduate School USA, training auditors and financial managers in the U.S. and overseas.
Since 1990, Mr. Khan has served in federal, state and local government auditing positions, was named one of the 15 Most Influential Professionals in Government Auditing, received the Grank Greathouse Distinguished Leadership Award, and was recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Association of Local Government Auditors.
Mr. Khan is accompanied in the Ethics training by the Governor’s Office Legal Counsel Terry VanEaton.
Prior to this position, Counsel VanEaton served as an attorney in the Compliance Division of the Nebraska Department of Revenue, and an Assistant Attorney General in the Prosecution Division of the Office of the Attorney General of Guam.
Assessing Controls for Government Employees in Performance Audits explores the relationship of controls to risk and to processes and systems, the prerequisites for good controls, and techniques for assessing the design and implementation of controls.
Ethical Decision-Making for Government Employees explores the ethical hazards and dilemmas facing officials and reviews methods of analyzing and resolving them.