The Auditor General, Obadiah Biraro, has said that he will block the Public Service Commission’s (PSC) efforts to hire his staff.
He pointed out that the involvement of PSC, which is under the Ministry of Public Service, would jeopardise the operations of his office considering the sensitivity of the work his staff carries out.
“I have so far received three letters from the PSC asking me to abide by the recruitment methodologies. I don’t intend to reply them because I believe the involvement of PSC in recruitment of the OAG (Office of the Auditor General) staff contradicts the autonomy of the office,” said Biraro.
He made the remarks while appearing before the Public Accounts Committee. He requested the lawmakers to notify the commission that it was vital for his institution to maintain total independence.
He revealed that his office is in the process of being ranked as the most independent audit agency in Africa which he affirms means a lot to Rwanda – an opportunity he says he would not wish to lose.
“The involvement of PSC in the recruitment of our staff may lead to double royalty among the auditors. Those whose interviews are done by the PSC may not have the moral authority to do a thorough audit of the commission,” said Biraho.
However, when contacted, the Executive Secretary of the Public Service Commission, Angelina Muganza, denied any involvement of her office in recruitment of staff at the AG’s office, but admitted that her office ought to examine the outcome of interviews.
“We are not involved in the recruitment of the AG’s office staff but this does not mean that the AG’s staff is exceptional. In a situation where an auditor scores 50 out of 50 in an interview, we absolutely have to question that,” explained Muganza.
She added that the letters that the AG mentioned deserved no reply since other offices were also served with similar letters.
Meanwhile, on the list of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) most independent supreme audit agencies, Rwanda is ranked at Grade Two.
INTOSAI operates as an umbrella organisation of the external government audit community.
It provides an institutionalised framework for supreme audit institutions to promote development and transfer of knowledge, improve government auditing worldwide and enhance professional capacities.
According to AG Biraro, Rwanda will soon move up to grade three which is the final one.
“Attaining grade three implies that you are highly qualified as an independent audit agency. We are currently doing the best we can to meet this target by June next year,” said Biraro.
He added that the performance of his office had made the United States Auditor General offer to train his auditors. He however lamented that his office still suffers from a high turnover of qualified staff.