The National Audit Office has said that the leaking of a draft report of an investigation into the manner in which water and electricity tariffs are calculated, and the possibility that consumers have been overcharged, does not constitute its position and is damaging to the organisation.
This morning the Times of Malta reported that a draft of the report had found that consumers could have been overcharged by some €6.5 million, as a result of the way in which water and electricity tariffs were calculated.
In a statement, the NAO said the report was still in the process of being updated. It explained that, in line with auditing standards, it provides audited entities the opportunity to comment on audit findings, conclusions, and recommendations, before they are published.
The procedure, the NAO said, ensured that auditees were kept in the loop, while also ensuring that the report is factually correct. It also allows for any potential misinterpretation between the auditors and auditees to be addressed, the NAO said.
“Within this context, the NAO solicits comments from audited entities by forwarding its draft reports under confidential cover. The distribution of this documentation is restricted to officials who are in a position to contribute towards the final version of the report,” the NAO said.
“Consequently, this Office reiterates that media references to works in progress do not constitute the NAO’s official position and are damaging to the organisation and stakeholders involved.”
Following the leaking of the report, the PN has called on those responsible to shoulder political responsibility. It also pledged to repay up to €50 million which it estimates have been “blatantly stolen” from consumers over an eight-year period.
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