World Need Post-Disaster Audit Standards: BPK
Markus Junianto Sihaloho
The State Audit Agency (BPK) is pushing global organizations to adopt a post-disaster relief management standard, chairman Hadi Purnomo, said on Monday.
Speaking at the opening of the sixth meeting of the Working Group on Accountability for and Audit of Disaster-Related Aid (WGAADA) in Yogyakarta on Monday, Hadi expressed his hope that participants of the meeting would be able to devise such a standard.
“Hopefully from this meeting, there will be a reference for a disaster relief management audit that can be used as an international standard,” Hadi said.
The three-day meeting is being attended by audit agency representatives from 14 countries that are members of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (Intosai), as well as representatives from Nongovernmental organizations dealing with financial and international transparency.
Hadi said that with the standard, all relief funding for natural disasters — both from the state budget or from off budget sources — will be under broader supervision.
“This audit is not make disaster relief more difficult. On the contrary, it is to make the funds [easier to] use,” Hadi said.
Intosai WGAADA chairman Gijs M. de Vries said that there were actually two aims in standardizing disaster fund audits.
First, de Vries hopes to seek ways to audit the preparedness of high-risk natural disaster countries; he said it’s important for people to know whether their government is truly ready to cope with disaster.
“Therefore if there is a disaster in the future, it can be dealt with. All this needs to be tested, and these preparations must also be audited,” de Vries said.
He said the audit should also not only cover disaster relief funds coming from state budgets, but also those from public and foreign donors.
“Politicians often promise aid, but the relief never comes. We have to make sure that tax money is being used to help the victims,” he added.
De Vries said that the initiative to prepare an international standard for disaster relief was prompted by the experience during the Aceh tsunami, where more than Rp 19 trillion ($2 billion) in funds from inside and outside the country were collected.
De Vries said that in the wake of the tsunami, a number of people pointed to the likelihood of corruption during the disbursement of the funds. Others urged emergency organizations to realize the gravity of the disaster, and to realize that waste and low accountability could not be accepted.
“We may not be able to stop corruption, but at least with this audit of disaster funds, the potential can be minimized to as little as possible,” de Vries said.