Prosecuting those involved in white collar crime is one of the biggest dilemmas facing Guyana’s financial regulators. But many in the anti-corruption arena believe that internal auditors have one of the biggest roles to play in this regard.
According to Commissioner General of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA), Godfrey Statia, internal auditors need “to stop being silent in the face of corruption. They need to stop turning a blind eye to lawlessness or covering it up when they find it.”
The Tax Chief was at the time delivering the feature address at a workshop for internal auditors yesterday at the Regency Hotel. There, Statia reminded several internal auditors on four occasions, about the importance of being ethical.
Statia said, “Ethics is one area that impacts the lives of everyday citizens, professions, family life, and government. Regardless of status, we should live and breathe ethics since it is only through ethical behavior and mutual respect for each other’s rights and obligations that society maintains law and order and we are civil to each other. For internal auditors, ethics is necessary and appropriate since it is grounded in the fact that management and stakeholders place a level of trust in the function of internal auditing.”
“However, Ethics can be sensitive and problematic when attempting to execute your responsibilities and fiduciary duties since Internal auditors on many occasions must make difficult and uncomfortable inquiries, for which management on many occasions perceive to be personal attacks on their integrity, morals, ethics, and competence. But you must remember that you took an oath to do your work without fear of retribution. Therefore, I expect of you all here today, to expose white-collar crime whenever it is detected.”
Further to this, the Chartered Accountant highlighted that the Ministry of Finance has made some effort to establish an internal auditing unit, as well as launched several programmes to improve these services at the respective ministries. Statia noted, however, that more needs to be done at the larger ministries and departments to ensure full-fledged internal audits are in place. He said that this will relieve the workload of the Audit Office so that they can be able to concentrate on “big ticket items.”