Saturday 21 September 2019

Broadband process auditor defends findings

Stock image / PA
Stock image / PA
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

The independent auditor who carried out a review into the broadband process has moved to clarify why he has never made an adverse finding about a process he had audited.

Peter Smyth, the process auditor for the national broadband plan procurement process, gave it a green light to continue amid concerns about meetings between former communications minister Denis Naughten and the businessman leading the sole remaining bid, David McCourt.

Mr Smyth appeared before the Oireachtas Communications Committee to discuss his report. Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley asked if he had ever found an adverse finding against a process, which Mr Smyth confirmed he had not.

In a letter to the chair of the committee, Mr Smyth said: "The role of the process auditor is to protect the accounting officer, providing them with an assurance that the process has been completed correctly.

"Under normal circumstances, a process auditor works alongside the procurement process and intervenes when appropriate to prevent or re-mediate issues in real time, such that you get to the end of the process without incident.

"This has been the case in most of the process audit work that I have been involved in. This is the main reason that I haven't had to make an adverse finding."

The current review is "somewhat unusual" in that it is essentially a post-audit.

He has carried out post-audits before, and "whilst they did not result in adverse findings, they have identified weaknesses and risks in some of the processes reviewed, but none at a level that led to a finding that the processes had to be terminated or unwound".

Irish Independent

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