Thursday, May 19, 2022

Internal Auditors pushing for establishment of supreme regulatory authority

If the Institute of Internal Audit (IIA) receives parliamentary approval during the current sitting, it will launch a strategic direction and impose regulatory framework governing the Internal Auditors practice with relative ease in 2013 or early 2014.

Speaking to Sunday Standard in Gaborone, the Botswana IIA Chapter Vice President, Enoch Mushango, said current lobbying by the Institute with strong support from the Ministry of Finance & Development Planning as well as BDP Gaborone West North MP Robert Masitara, which has reached advanced stages for the establishment of a National Committee on Governance Legislation of Internal Audit (NCGLIA), the IIA supreme regulatory authority during the designated timeframe.

This will place IIAB on footing with its international counterparts, including the world body. However, the Act has been drafted and awaits selection of the National Committee on Governance that will preside over the matter, to have direct control over members or non- members practicing as Internal Auditors.

“IIAB has charted a strategic direction that will ensure order first and effectively tackle the governance issue. We are moving towards commentary and writing articles on governance for the public to understand and participate,” said Mushango, who is also BotswanaPost Head of Internal Audit and Risk. “Due to the absence of regulatory framework governing the ethics and conduct of Internal Auditors, IIAB’s Board of Governors analysed the current position of the Institute and identified key areas requiring immediate attention include strategic direction, membership drive, technical skills deficiency, regulating governance and the Practice of Internal Audit, office premises and stakeholder relationships. Implementation of this strategy will bring ‘The New Dawn of Internal Audit in Botswana’.”

Mushango, the current Southern Africa Institute of Internal Auditors Vice President, said IIAB has a long way to go to achieve the level of vibrant growth comparably to the Botswana Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA), which was established in 1988.

At the moment BICA owns the entire multi-storey complex in Gaborone’s prestigious Fairgrounds business district, because it operates within a failsafe regulatory framework. In comparison, IIAB operates from a one-room outfit serving as office head for the entire country, run by a clerk. The establishment of a well-resourced full time secretariat to carryout both strategic and day to day duties and responsibilities of the Institute has been far too long in planning.

The Board has seeking funding assistance to enable a fully-fledged office that can drive the strategy in a more appropriate location.

There is a prerequisite for putting in place a long term strategy which sets the strategic direction and operational plans to drive the promotion of internal auditing as a profession. A Vision with a Ten Year Strategy horizon to guide the Institute’s operations well beyond the current Board’s mandate has been developed.

“For us to move forward and grow, we need a strategy to take us there. We don’t have control of Internal Auditors, who can continue practicing even after they are charged with misconduct or fraudulence. For instance, the incumbents involved in the fraudulent use of credit cards at the Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB) in 2012 and the Botswana Football Premier League misuse of funds, to name a few, who walked away scot-free underscores how the absence of NCGLIA is stifling growth. More so, the illegal sacking of Botswana University of Science and Technology (BIUST) CEO without the consultation of the IIAB marks another regulatory quagmire. Cases of Internal Auditors who look for alternative employment after felonious involvement are too many to enumerate. Furthermore, members are apathetic and enjoy the leeway of not renewing subscriptions when they expire. The importance of membership fees the Institute need no further emphasis,” he said.

Given his 28 years in the Internal Audit promotion, 19 of them with Government, Mushango further lamented that practicing Internal Auditors were not actively involved in the activities of the local Institute because they got better benefits in other Institutes which are more advanced than us, like IIA South Africa.

The Board has included in its strategy, establishment of a fully-fledged office that will provide all the required services, conduct market research and market its services. In addition, by-laws have been reviewed to facilitate smooth operation and member interest generation.

The IIAB was formed in 1996 and is a non-profit making professional body with the mandate to develop the internal auditing and good governance practice and set standards for Internal Auditors’ compliance. Internal Audit’s continuous monitoring, ethics and integrity form the crucial pillars of governance.

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