Sunday, February 25, 2024
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Thursday, May 2, 2019
OHA: Where is the promised audit for fraud, waste and abuse?
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 10:08 PM :: 5001 Views :: Ethics, OHA

Where is the promised audit for fraud, waste and abuse?

by OHA Trustee at Large Keli’i Akina, PhD,  Ka Wai Ola, May, 2019

It's been over two years since the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees unanimously approved an independent audit of OHA and its limited liability companies for fraud, waste and abuse. $500,000 was appropriated and a top national financial services firm was engaged.

To date, not even a progress report has been provided to the public despite ample time and resources having been dedicated to complete the task. And now the OHA Trustees have voted 8 to 1 (I was the lone NO vote) to stretch the audit's completion date to December 2019. That will be almost three years since the audit was approved, and will bypass the ending of the CEO's current contract.  What's going on?

Excuses, Excuses...

One excuse given for extending the deadline for the audit is that OHA's time and resources were constrained by events like the state Auditor's report released in February, 2018, the Attorney General's investigation into OHA, and the November, 2018 election. But the fact is, an organization the size of OHA has the resources to comply with the audit. It is my opinion that the Board of Trustees failed to compel the organization to do so.

Another excuse is that there's no need for this audit, due to the many other audits OHA undergoes on a regular basis. However, the independent audit was created to dig deeper than these routine audits, to ferret out fraud, waste and abuse in OHA's and the LLCs' procurement practices and contracts. No other audit of OHA is as comprehensive as the independent audit was designed to be, not even that of the State Auditor.

A third excuse for the delay is obstacles in auditing the OHA-owned LLCs, despite the fact that the OHA Board ordered the LLCs to comply. The problem? One can only guess, as a cloak of secrecy has covered any deliberation on this matter.

Cloud of Concern

Whatever the reason for the delay, OHA's failure to complete the independent audit has generated a cloud of concern. The state Attorney General has been investigating OHA, and state lawmakers have introduced resolutions and attached language to OHA's own proposed budget and public lands trust legislation, requiring an audit of the OHA LLCs.

Crisis of Credibility

OHA has been mired in an ongoing crisis of credibility, and the delay in completing the audit is further damaging OHA's reputation. In 2015, OHA commissioned a scientific survey conducted by SMS Research. Among those surveyed, OHA ranked least favorable among Hawaiian-serving institutions. Perceptions of poor management and failure to represent the Hawaiian people effectively were the top rationales for the low ranking.

Action by OHA Trustees is Needed

The expiration of the current CEO's contract in July will present an opportunity Trustees must take seriously. Trustees must perform their due diligence to select a CEO candidate eminently capable of restoring OHA's credibility.  This person must be qualified and motivated to guarantee the completion of the audit without interference or further delay.

Trustees must also assert the political courage amongst themselves to complete the independent audit, and declare that ''the buck stops here." Doing so is the only way to get an accurate and complete picture of the agency's financial condition. And that is essential to bettering the conditions of OHA's beneficiaries, our ultimate purpose.

Finally, OHA must create a culture of transparency. The agency should welcome the scrutiny of a thorough review, rather than delay it. And all beneficiaries should be watching closely to help ensure the audit is not delayed again or hindered by weak excuses.

Toward this end, E Hana Kakou!/Let's Work Together! 

---30---

Related: Secret Timeline Shows OHA Lying to Legislature While Stonewalling LLC Audit 

Links

TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote

2aHawaii

808 Silent Majority

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

AntiPlanner

Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Broken Trust

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

DVids Hawaii

FIRE

Fix Oahu!

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Grassroot Institute

Habele.org

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii Legal News

Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance

Hawaii Matters

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

HIEC.Coop

HiFiCo

Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Moms for Liberty

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

House Minority Blog

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

July 4 in Hawaii

Kakaako Cares

Keep Hawaii's Heroes

Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

MentalIllnessPolicy.org

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

NAMI Hawaii

Natatorium.org

National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

Obookiah

OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

OurFutureHawaii.com

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Practical Policy Institute of Hawaii

Pritchett Cartoons

Pro-GMO Hawaii

P.U.E.O.

RailRipoff.com

Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

ReRoute the Rail

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

School Choice in Hawaii

SenatorFong.com

Sink the Jones Act

Statehood for Guam

Talking Tax

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

UCC Truths

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

VAREP Honolulu

Waagey.org

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii

Yes2TMT