Supreme Audit Institutions have a special position among government institutions and their independence is paramount to discharging their responsibilities, according to a visiting Auditor General from Norway.

An independent Audit office ensures the efficient use of public money and prevents misuse, fraud and corruption, said Norwegian Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss, here today.

They perform a vital role in the functioning of government as they inform parliament and the public through their independent audit reports, he said, adding that these are important times in Nepal as the country is going through constitution-writing process. “This opportunity must be utilised to ensure independence of the Office of the Auditor General of Nepal.”

Foss, who visited Nepal on September 2 – 5 on an official invitation from the Auditor General of Nepal, also met Prime Minister Sushil Koirala the Speaker of the Constitutional Assembly, finance minister, chairperson of the Public Accounts Committee, political leaders and several committees of the Constitutional Assembly, as well as civil society representatives.

The offices of the Auditor General in Nepal and Norway have been collaborating since 2008 by exchanging experiences and strengthening capacity building of the Office of the Auditor General Nepal based on the local needs and international demands and standards.

A new phase of the project started in December 2013 and will continue until the end of 2018.

During his visit, Foss also participated in a national workshop on the Independence of Supreme Audit Institutions in Nepal. As a special guest speaker, he talked about the mandates, roles and functions of the Supreme Audit Institution as a constitutional body that is independent financially too.

The visit strengthened the bond between the Office of the Auditor General of Nepal and Norway,”  Auditor General Bhanu Prasad Acharya, said on the occasion.

The visit would expand and deepen the scope and dimension of cooperation between the two institutions, expressing willingness to explore further areas of mutual cooperation and promote partnerships, he added.

Per-Kristian Foss was a member of the Norwegian Parliament for 32 years, served as the finance minister of Norway from 2001 to 2005, and was the vice-president of the Norwegian Parliament from 2009 to 2013, before he became Auditor General of Norway in January 2014.

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