Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss says in a press release that he will return to control the Storting, after the change of presidency.
– It is gratifying that the chairmanship of the Storting has turned around and once again opens the door for the Auditor General to check whether the Storting administration complies with the laws and regulations. It is an important part of our work with public accounts and crucial to trust in the Storting, our most important democratic institution, writes Auditor General Per-Kristian Foss in a press release.
Did not investigate
In 2017, the Office of the Auditor General was conducting a security investigation at the Storting. Then the then president of the Storting Olemic Thommesen told them to stop.
This remained unknown until this week. Later, Per-Kristian Foss told Aftenposten why the Auditor General’s Office could not examine the houses of the Storting representatives.
– Normally we should have gone and investigated this case. That we are not acting normal, we can thank the chairmanship of the Storting, said Foss.
The traveler housing scheme has received much attention after revelations by Aftenposten that several representatives have had covered housing in Oslo, with no living expenses in their constituency.
The revelations led KrF minister and leader Kjell Ingolf Ropstad to resign from both positions.
The Auditor General said in the interview that the message from the chairman of the Storting was “very special”. For more than 100 years, the Office of the Auditor General has investigated the management of the Storting.
This is what is known as a “compliance check”, to see if the business is carried out in accordance with the laws and regulations. For example, if management ensures that taxes and employer tax are deducted from taxable property.
On Wednesday, the current chairman of the Storting, Tone W. Trøen, said that the Office of the Auditor General has every right to carry out such investigations.
It provides a new opportunity for Foss and its auditors.
“We will resume work as we have always believed that there is room for our mandate. At the same time, we ask the presidency for a formal confirmation of his statements in the media in recent days,” he writes in the press release.
Disagreement on the audit
In an email sent to Aftenposten on Thursday evening, the chairman of the Storting Trøen writes:
«The General Auditor has had every right to carry out all the audit work to which it is obliged. They have confirmed this themselves in a letter addressed to the chairmanship of the Storting since December 2017 and have carried out audit work and submitted audit reports at all times. “
The fact that you have such a different business description than the Auditor General is due to the fact that there are two types of audit.
The annual report of the Auditor General’s Office for 2020 says: “We are also auditing the accounts of the Storting, the Sami Parliament, four Nordic companies based in Norway.”
It is an audit of the accounts, that the expenses and income are entered correctly and that the amounts are correct.
The Auditor General also conducts what Foss calls a “compliance audit,” where they look to public companies to see if they are complying with laws and regulations. This is what controversy is about, and where it is said word for word.
Per Kristian Foss is pleased that the chairman of the Storting has now declared that he can also carry out such an audit.
The commuter houses
Foss writes in the press release that many have asked him if he wants to examine the homes of travelers. Your answer is that it is not safe:
“We now have the acceptance of the Storting to carry out this type of control, but our investigations should always be based on a professional audit assessment of risk and materiality.” It is these evaluations that we are now embarking on. “
The Auditor General’s Office will first examine what investigations the Storting itself has initiated, before considering whether to examine travelers’ homes.