Ho‘oia – The Truth

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Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee, Maui

Welina me ke aloha
When OHA was created and set in motion, the State of Hawaii understood that the elected officials would serve for the betterment of Hawaiians. It is important to note that the role of a Trustee, to the beneficiary, is one of a fiduciary. This word implies that OHA Trustees are held to the highest standards of obligation to act on behalf of the beneficiaries with total trust, good faith, and honesty. It is our duty to assure you that your OHA resources are not only going to further our lahui today, but to ensure there is intergenerational equity in perpetuity. I am required by law to hold OHA up to the highest of standards with respect to executing our duties and obligations. These are the reasons the Board has deemed it vital to conduct an audit indicating any fraud, waste, or abuse.

Currently OHA undergoes three types of audits, where each one is reviewing specific areas within the organization. The first is required by our Trustee Operations Manual Article 37, referred to as the Financial Statement Audit where its scope is to attest the fairness of the financial statements, which is conducted annually. The second is required by the Office of Management Budget Circular A-133; referred to as the Federal Funds Audit, its scope is to attest the fairness of financial statements; compliance with grant requirements and applicable federal and state laws and regulations, which is conducted annually. The third is required by Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 10-14.55 known as the State Audit, where its scope is to examine the efficiency and effectiveness of government programs or agencies, which is conducted at least once every four years, with a follow up done within two or three years thereafter. The first two audits are conducted by CPA firms and the last one is done by the Office of the State Auditor. Their report will be published before the end of 2017.

Although the aforementioned audits serve the public in their own specific ways, it is the will of the Board to conduct another audit holding OHA to an even higher standard. According to the Request for Statements of Qualification the scope of this specific audit is to “identify and quantify potential areas of waste, abuse, and fraud in the procurement of professional services, as well as other disbursements of funds.” This audit will take a closer look at OHA’s procurement and contracts as well as our LLCs’, in order to have a clear and objective understanding of how OHA funds have been managed. The audit will look over the past five fiscal years back to 2012. Finally this audit will, according to the SOQ, “provide recommendations on organizational, structural and procedural improvement[s] to strengthen the BOT’s fiduciary oversight of the OHA and its LLCs.”

As outlined in the SOQ, it is our duty and obligation to ensure that OHA funds are used only to further the mission; to mālama (protect) Hawaii’s people and environmental resources and OHA’s assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally. To put it more simply, we are here to better the lives of our lahui. This audit will allow us to become fully transparent and show us where there is room for improvement in our policies and operations. This is a tool that will allow us to move forward unified and with strength.

Mele Kalikimaka a Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou!!