The Internal Audit department is a department statutorily responsible for carrying out, on a daily basis, independent appraisal activities and review of the hospital’s internal control system.
In other words, the internal audit department functions as a form of managerial control by measuring and evaluating the effectiveness of other controls, both financial and otherwise.
The department was established by the management to ensure orderly conduct of hospital activities, safeguard assets and promote accuracy of accounting records. The internal audit department is the watchdog of the management in the area of stock procurement and disbursement, resource control, accounting and financial matters, personnel and general hospital activities.
The department is to continuously review and evaluate the hospital’s internal control system to ensure that it is efficient in design and effective in operation with the aim of achieving the Hospital’s set goals which is the provision of quality health care delivery to patients.
The department is poised to ensure that management is furnished with accurate and timely information necessary for effective decision making.
The Internal Audit Department of the hospital came into existence with the establishment and upgrading of the hospital to a teaching hospital in the early seventies. Since its inception, the department has passed through many heads of department starting from Mr. Okpara as the first head of Internal Audit Department. He handed over to Late Mr. P.J.O Abia. Mr. Abia handed over to Mr. G.C Okafor in 2007. Mr. Okafor handed over to the present head of Department in the person of Mr. Ugochukwu Aja in 2018.
The various heads of department made significant contributions to the development of the department and the progress of the hospital at large.
FUNCTIONS OF THE INTERNAL AUDIT DEPARTMENT
The Internal Audit Department is directly responsible to the Chief Accounting Officer/Chief Medical Director of the hospital.
We perform the following duties:-
- Monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of internal control systems for prompt detection and prevention of fraud and losses.
- Continuous review and appraisal of accounting systems of the hospital to promote accuracy and reliability of accounting records.
- Review of the revenue collection procedure, custody and lodgement to ensure that all accrued revenue is adequately collected, arranged into appropriate heads and subheads and banked in line with extant regulations.
- We conduct pre-payment audit checks on all hospital payments to confirm attachment of all relevant supporting documents. In addition, we subject all payment vouchers to compliance and substantive tests before they are forwarded under security schedule for payment at the cash office. We raise queries on observed lapses for corrective measures.
- The department carries out continuous inventory and monitoring of hospital assets and updating of inventory cards.
- We monitor procurement and issue of hospital stores. We insist on compliance with the specifications on award letters and ensure that adequate documentation are carried out on consumption of stores.
- We carry out regular verification of cash, stores and assets through cash survey/cash count and stock taking exercise.
- We conduct audit checks on staff salaries and allowances, pensions and gratuities of retired staff to ensure accuracy and genuineness.
- We write and produce monthly, quarterly and half yearly reports which are sent to the accounting officer/Chief Medical Director on the progress of audits in the hospital with copies sent to the offices of the Accountant General and Auditor General of the Federation.
To effectively discharge our duties and carry out our statutory duties as listed above, the department submits detailed annual audit programmes to the chief accounting officer at the beginning of each year for approval. This programme articulates the duties and functions of the department arranged in sections/unit for effective coverage.
Presently, the department is organized into eight units/sections as follows:
- Prepayment Audit: This unit is responsible for conducting pre-payment audit checks on all payment vouchers before payment is effected.
- Main Accounts Audit Unit: This unit reviews entries and postings in the various books of account in the accounts department with the aim of ascertaining the accuracy and adequacy of those records for preparation of the hospital’s final account.
- Stores and Supplies Audit Unit: This unit monitors hospital stores and procurement ensuring that store receipts are in accordance to provisions in the local purchase order or award and that issues are made according to the rules and regulations of the hospital.
- Cash and Bank Audit Unit: This unit is responsible for monitoring cash office activities, bank transactions and schools account.
- Personnel Emolument Audit Unit: This unit conducts checks and review on salaries and allowances including pension matters.
- Revenue Audit Unit: This unit is responsible for monitoring revenue collection at various points in the hospital to ensure that all accrued revenue are collected and accounted for.
- Commercialized Accounts Audit Unit: This unit monitors cash collections and carry out audit checks on the accounts of all the commercialized areas of the hospital.
- Asset Monitoring Unit: This unit oversees the hospital assets both fixed and movable . It maintains asset inventory and updates locational inventory cards at various offices/departments.
The department recorded significant achievements in the performance of its statutory duties. These include:
- Detection of several cases of double payments, over payments and erroneous payments in the course of our audit checks and review on payment vouchers. Also several cases of wrong computations were corrected saving the hospital from loss of funds.
- The department ensured that internal control procedures were observed on all hospital payments insisting on attachment of all relevant supporting documents on payment vouchers thereby averting losses from sharp practices.
- The department monitored revenue collection at various points in the hospital ensuring that all accruable revenues were collected and accounted for thereby minimizing teeming and lading.
- The department witnessed the supply of hospital consumables, drugs and equipment and ensured that approved quantity and quality and other specifications in the award letters were observed.
- The department recorded significant landmarks in our ongoing sign writing and engraving or relevant inventory identification codes on the hospital assets.
- The department extensively reviewed cases of unreturned advances and issuance of I.O.Us to staff and our opinion was expressed in our report to management referring to relevant sections of financial regulation (FR 829), which prohibits the issuance of I.O.Us.
Several constraints have hampered the department’s efforts in intensifying and widening the scope of our monitoring of the hospital’s activities, especially accounting systems and invariably the quality of audit reports sent to management. These include:
- Inadequate Computerization of Audit: The internal audit department is yet to be fully computerized and networked with accounts and other departments to enable us embark on unrestricted monitoring of accounting duties and other hospital activities.
- Lack of Training: The internal audit department is yet to be included in the series of training programmes brought about by the current developments in the nation’s accounting system such as e-payment system, contributory pension matters, NHIS etc. This makes it difficult for the department to check and effectively monitor hospital activities in these areas.
- Lack of Audit Trail: Our payroll system still lacks audit trail and query routine making it difficult for us to monitor and evaluate the system.
- Other Challenges: The department is still grappling with difficulties in obtaining working materials from the accounts department, incessant power outage etc. All these adversely affect the department’s efficiency and effectiveness in monitoring hospital activities and timely audit report.
- 22 Staff in the Auditors Cadre
- 21 Staff in the Executive Cadre
- 1 Staff in the Data Processing Cadre
- 2 Staff in the Administrative Cadre
- 13 Staff in the Clerical Officers Cadre
- 2 Staff in the wardens Cadre
- 1 Staff in the Health Asst. Cadre
- 1 Staff in the Secretarial Asst. Cadre
- 1 Staff in the Secretarial Cadre
The internal audit department, as the watchdog, of the hospital is prepared to continuously furnish the management with relevant and accurate reports on the activities of every section of the hospital. It is hoped that management will favourably address all the listed constraints in this report to enable us perform better in years to come.
Aja, P. Ugochukwu Deputy Director /Ag.HOD (Audit)