File Image:IOL
With the Institute for Internal Auditors South Africa (IIA SA) saying that 18% of internal auditors do not feel safe if they expose questionable activities to law enforcement agencies such as the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the Hawks should be at the ready to protect internal auditors, analysts say.

The IIA SA’s report, which was released in May, revealed that one out of five internal auditors feared for their lives, and those of their families, were they were to expose questionable activities in their investigations.

George Glynos, an economist, said the report indicated a desperate state of affairs.

“We would want to see the institutional capacity of the NPA and the Hawks kick into play in a way that people such as internal auditors can feel protected from this sort of behaviour, and if it does crop up that they feel entitled and emboldened to approach them, and for those (guilty) people to be held accountable,” Glynos said.

According to Dr Claudelle von Eck, the chief executive of the IIA SA, over the last number of years, the institute had received numerous verbal reports from internal auditors claiming that they were being victimised, intimidated and coerced into sweeping findings under the carpet.

Meanwhile, many said that they lived in fear of losing their jobs, with some even fearing for their lives.

“More recently the number of IIA SA members complaining about the plight of internal auditors has increased and the cries for help intensified.

“While the majority of complaints have come from internal auditors in the public sector, the fact that the veil had largely been lifted on private sector corruption pointed to the necessity to include the private sector in the study,” Von Eck said.

Ralph Mathekga, a political analyst, said that internal auditors were at the coalface of fighting maladministration and that they would be the first people that corrupt elements would want to overrun.

“These types of crimes should be prioritised by the state, which should send a very strong message when this kind corruption happens because otherwise it will simply corrode institutions in the long run.

“The state has to react quite strongly when dealing with this corruption because these are serious transgressions with serious potential to undermine and override the integrity of our institutions

“These types of crimes should be taken very seriously, and we should protect those who are willing to act in good faith, and the best way to protect them is to go against the bad guys,” Mathekga said.

Political Bureau