The SAI Zambia is established under the constitution. Head of the SAI is appointed by Head of State and is ratified by the parliament. The Head of the SAI can be removed only for inability to perform the function of his office, whether arising from his infirmity of body or mind or for incompetence or for misbehaviour in accordance with the provisions of article 122 of the constitution of Zambia. There is no fixed qualifications but an age limit of 60 years.
The various conditions of service of the Head of the SAI to secure independence are:
- Special procedure for appointment
- Special procedure for removal
- fixed tenure
- Immunity/protection from actions by others in its performance of duties
- Independence to frame workplans
The SAI is not fully financially independent. Budget is subject to the Ministry of Finance. Even after approval not all the money is released. SAI is subject to audit annually and audited statements are submitted to Ministry of finance for inclusion in the financial report..
The SAI's jurisdiction extends to following
- Bodies not owned but substantially funded by the government
- Banks whose capital forms part of the Federal, Provincial and local government and autonomous bodies substantially funded by the government
- State joint ventures with foreign agencies and other enterprises
- Audit of Receipt of the government
- Concession granted by the Government to agencies for exploitation of public resources
- Aid or grants provided by Foreign Government
There are limitations in the audit of government investments made in other countries as a minority shareholder because such companies usually appoint their own private auditors.
SAI also has Jurisdiction over fallowing if government owned
- Regulatory bodies (e.g. Privatisation, Environment, Pollution Control, Telecom etc.)
The SAI has powers of requisitioning all records of the auditee departments/organisations to discharge its mandate as per part X, article 121 of the Constitution. The SAI has powers to enforce or initiate enforcement action to secure access to needed records which are not produced under article 121 of the constitution, the public audit act chap 347.
The SAI has power to seal but can not search and seize documents and other related items considered necessary for audit and inspection. It has power to seek testimonials of the persons concerned as per the constitution. After the report of the Auditor General has been laid before the national assembly the PAC summons controlling offices concerned to appear before it to answer the enquiries raised by the SAI. The SAI can seek co-operation of persons other than agencies subject to audit and inspection.
The SAI has no powers to instruct government investigating agencies to perform activities considered necessary. The SAI cannot re-examine its own adjudication. The SAI has powers to decide on claims of interested persons in connection with official actions, duties and behaviour of persons subject to audit and inspection. The SAI has the authority to dispense with, in whole or part, the audit of Federal, Provincial and local Governments accounts and other related matters.
The SAI has no powers to take punitive action and/or impose surcharges. The SAI has the powers to access the computer systems of the auditees and download and use electronic data either in site or off site. The SAI does not have the powers to review the development of computer systems by the auditees and suggest controls. The SAI has a role in the appointment and supervision of the other external auditors engaged by auditees for meeting the statutory requirements.
Audit Procedures And Functions
The SAI prescribes Financial, Compliance, and Performance Audits in its scope of Audit. Provisions in the Constitution specifically provides for performance of such audits. The SAI conducts Special Audit. The SAI's approach starts fromdefining the general objectives of the audit and scope, obtaining an understanding of the accounting systems together with related controls.
The SAI does not discharge judicial functions. The SAI is required to follow specific standards, practices and guidelines in conducting audit and reporting. The SAI can not consult and/or collaborate with other countries/SAIs and international organisations on matters relating to audit. The SAI is involved in various tech. work groups where various audit matters are discussed. The SAI can engage consultants and/or obtain professional services in conducting audit, where it is necessary. The SAI reports on the acts that infringe upon State economic interests like mass embezzlements of state assets etc. It does not have powers to amend accounts in case of financial statements. The SAI has an advisory role and the Government is not necessarily required to consult the SAI before taking decision involving substantial consequences.
The SAI is constituted as an audit office with monocratic status ie. with an auditor general or equivalent as head.