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Wildin appointed new Audit head

Tuesday 6 December 2022 | Written by Matthew Littlewood | Published in Business, Local, National

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Wildin appointed new Audit head
Desmond Wildin has been appointed the director of the Audit Office. SUPPLIED/22120512

Desmond Wildin has stepped into the role as director of the Audit Office after more than a decade in public service in the Cook Islands.

A media release from the Public Service Commission (PSC) says that Wildin was issued his Warrant of Appointment by the King’s Representative Sir Tom Marsters on November 22.

Wildin told Cook Islands News on Monday that he was looking forward to improving and developing the office’s functions “for the benefit of all Cook Islanders”.

“Basically, our independence is key. Our role is to ensure proper stewardship of government funds, along with transparency and accountability in the public office,” Wildin said.

Wildin said in the past, the office had produced good audit reports on organisations, but did not necessarily have the resources to chase up those organisations to see whether they were adopting their recommendations.

“It’s about providing a solid foundation for the organisations to build on, and if, there are issues that need to be addressed, then ensuring that this is done so.”

Wildin said the organisation needed to “leverage” its good relationship with the Public Service Commission, the Office of the Ombudsman and Crown Law, along with Audit New Zealand, to ensure it has the resources to improve public accountability.

“We’ve got a real opportunity here to make some great strides,” he said.

Wildin has been working for the Audit Office since 2010. He replaces Allen Parker, who stood down for family reasons earlier this year. Wildin has been in acting capacity as audit director.

“Allen’s ability to make people feel at ease and feel open during discussions was noticeable. He was very good at fostering relationships,” Wildin said.

“I’ve been exposed to offices within the Pacific region, it’s allowed us to progress and adapt over time.”

Minister for the Audit Office, Vaine (Mac) Mokoroa says in the media release that “Wildin has demonstrated a commitment to address the challenges inherent in meeting the Audit Office’s strategic targets”.

“He is an excellent communicator and is very driven and ambitious, hardworking and experienced. His willingness to be pragmatic where appropriate is apparent,” Makiroa said.

The recruitment process was led by the Public Service Commissioner, Carl Hunter, who commented that: “Wildin is passionate about forging excellent relationships across Government. He is supportive of and committed to promoting the profile of the Audit Office through a strategic advocacy approach”.

The Audit Office can receive complaints in relation to public expenditure and public revenues as well as any alleged incorrect implementation of the policies and procedures required under their jurisdiction.

The nature of complaints can relate to: misuse of public funds and resources by public officials, purchasing and tender irregularities, financial mismanagement, conflicts of interest and misuse of Government assets.

Wildin will lead a team of 12 staff.

In the media statement, Minister Mokoroa also said that Wildin “offers the opportunity for a seamless transition as a result of his many years of service and dedication to the Audit Office”.

“He has an astute appreciation of the existing and future challenges of the Cook Islands and is ready for and committed to this new challenge.”