Controversial audit released, auditor responds to criticism - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Controversial audit released, auditor responds to criticism

State Auditor Marion Higa State Auditor Marion Higa

By Holly Juscen – bio | email

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - State Auditor Marion Higa fired back Thursday afternoon, saying her reputation and credibility was attack two weeks ago when Governor Lingle called her audit draft "shoddy" and "a complete disregard for the facts." Higa said, "I think we need a affirmative response to set the record straight."

Higa says the facts are the audit, a "Financial Examination" into the Department of Budget and Finance's handling of taxpayer money. At issue, $1 billion dollars of investments in auction rate securities, money that is now frozen and the state has had to write off millions of dollars in losses,

"For the average taxpayer, this means no tax refunds perhaps, this means not being able to pay bills. It's all because there is a billion dollars frozen," said Higa

In the audit there are recommendations to the department about better management and accountability of state funds, citing a lack of leadership. Higa went on to say the department has a poor record keeping showing a handwritten calendar that is used track of the money that the state pays out.

On the other hand, the state says the audit is misleading and inconsistent, which led to Higa issuing a challenge, " I will put my staff up for a lie detector test if the adminIstration will do the same and we will see where the truth might lie."

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