The duties and responsibilities of the Auditor General are as stated in the Jamaican Constitution and the Financial Administration and Audit Act. Accordingly, the Auditor General is responsible for assessing the effectiveness of the management of the Government of Jamaica’s financial management systems and the level of compliance with financial management policies and guidelines.
Section 25(1) provides that the Auditor General shall, in performing his/her functions under section 122 (1) of the Constitution ascertain whether in his/her opinion:
- The accounts referred to in that section are being faithfully and properly kept;
- The rules and procedures framed and applied are sufficient to secure an effective check on the assessment, collection and proper allocation of the revenue and other receipts of the Government;
- All money expended and charged to an appropriation account has been applied to the purpose for which the provision made by Parliament was intended and that any payment of public money conforms to the authority which governs it, and has been incurred with due regard to the avoidance of waste and extravagance.
- Essential records are maintained and the rules and procedures framed and applied are sufficient to safeguard control of Government property;
- The provision of this or any other enactment relating to the administration of public money and Government property have been complied with;
- Satisfactory procedures have been established to measure and report on the effectiveness of programmes and services.
Nothing in the Constitution shall prevent the performance by the Auditor General of:
- Such other functions in relation to the accounts of the Government of Jamaica and the accounts of other public authorities and other bodies administering public funds in Jamaica as may be prescribed by or under any law for the time being in force in Jamaica; or
- Such other functions in relation to the supervision and control of expenditure from public funds in Jamaica as may be so prescribed; or
- Such other functions in relation to the accounts of any other government as he/she may be empowered to perform by any authority competent in that behalf.
The FAA Act requires that upon presentation of the annual Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure, the Minister of Finance shall present the Houses of Parliament with a Fiscal Policy Paper that details the macroeconomic framework, the fiscal responsibility statement and the fiscal management strategy. The Auditor General is required under the FAA Act to examine the components of the FPP and provide a report to the Houses of Parliament within 2 weeks after the Fiscal Policy (FPP) is laid before the House in February of each year, stating whether:
- There are any public bodies that do not form part of the specified public sector which in the preceding financial year formed part of the specified public sector
- The justifications provided by the Ministry of Finance and Planning in respect of deviations of the fiscal outcome from the targets of the previous fiscal year, are reasonable;
- The conventions and assumptions underlying the preparation of the FPP comply with prudent financial principles
- There are any public bodies that are deemed of a commercial nature and should not be included in the specified public sector
- A Public Private Partnership only involves minimum contingent liability.
Section 20 – 24 of the FAA Act allows the Auditor General to recommend to the Financial Secretary that a surcharge be laid against an Officer who is, was or had:
- Failed to collect monies owing to the Government a responsibility for which the individual had been given;
- Responsible for any improper payment of public monies or for any payment which was not duly vouched;
- Responsible for any deficiency in, or for, the loss or destruction of, any public monies, stamps, securities, stores of other Government property.
This surcharge is intended to allow the Government to recover the funds lost in the form of debt.