Every year, since its establishment in 2011, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) is handed the Auditor General’s report so that it analyses it and draws up recommendations for the plenary assembly of the Lower House regarding public finance mismanagement cases. Such an exercise should be done within less than six months from the time the Auditor General tables the report of a financial year to Parliament. ALSO READ: 10 key highlights from Auditor General’s report Under the exercise, leaders of State Budget Agencies – including Chief Budget Managers and staff members from public entities and projects in question – appear before PAC in public hearings to respond to cases of mismanagement of public finance raised by the Auditor General’s report. The aim is to ensure that those who were responsible for losses caused to the government be held accountable in line with upholding the culture of proper management of public finances, and transparency. ALSO READ: Officials from 68 public entities summoned by PAC Public entities summoned for the hearings are in the categories of budget entities that receive adverse audit opinion in financial statements, those which received adverse audit opinion in compliance audits or value for money, those which implemented Auditor General's recommendations below 60 per cent, and entities where performance audit reports and IT (information and technology) audit reports were made. During the hearings, officials must provide explanations on various audit queries related to public finance and asset management, and the status of implementation of recommendations made by the Auditor General in the financial year under review, according to information from Parliament. ALSO READ: Auditor General speaks out on unimplemented recommendations Other entities invited to PAC hearings Also present at the hearings are entities that are considered PAC partners. They include representatives of the Office of the Auditor General. These can be either the Auditor General, his deputy, Assistant Auditors General, or those who led different audits under consideration. They are invited to PAC hearings so that they shed light on the report findings. Others include the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which provides additional explanation regarding projects or entities that are underfunded, or investments that are not yielding returns, and need improvements for effective planning. There is also the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority which makes contributions related to compliance with public procurement or tendering legislation in different entities. Regarding justice and law enforcement, as well as supporting the pursuit for accountability, there is the Ministry of Justice, the National Public Prosecution Authority (NPPA), and the Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB), and the media. The Deputy Chairperson of PAC, MP Beline Uwineza, told The New Times that the hearings help entities in charge of justice, prosecution and investigation to get more information on issues that are subject to probe, and focus attention, citing many issues in public procurement. Also, she said that there are cases where PAC wants the Ministry of Justice to provide clarification or advice such as those concerning legally binding agreements or contracts between public entities and their suppliers or contractors. “There are cases which RIB can conduct investigations. They scruntise them, sometimes they might get additional information to what they already have,” she said. ALSO READ: MPs demand accountability for public funds abuse After hearings, PAC presents to the Lower House’s plenary session its assessment of the Auditor General’s report, with a list of recommendations. In case it adopts it, the Chamber of Deputies forwards the recommendations to relevant authorities urging appropriate measures to help ensure proper management of public finances. This may include investigating public finance misuse cases and holding those responsible to account. Meanwhile, apart from analysing the report of the Auditor General of State Finance with respect to the use of State finance and property, PAC also required by law to follow up on the implementation of recommendations adopted by the Plenary Assembly during the analysis of the report of the Auditor General of State Finance.