OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA statement regarding release of final audit

Statement of OHA Chair Colette Machado:

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) thanks the state Auditor for its diligent work in developing its Final Audit, which was released today. OHA is proud of our substantial contributions to the Lāhui and to all Hawaiʻi since the agency was established in 1980.  Our advocacy and funding have helped to protect Native Hawaiian rights, preserve traditional cultural practices, and advance the socio-economic well-being of our beneficiaries.

We appreciate that this audit is intended to help OHA improve so that we can better fulfill our mandate of bettering the conditions of Native Hawaiians. We fully understand that the daunting challenges our beneficiaries face – as well as our sweeping mandate – require our commitment to continuous improvement and progress.  We know we must do better.

OHA acknowledges the Auditor’s findings that we must endeavor to institute and enforce disciplined spending through clearly defined, objective and responsible policies and protocols.  This will better enable OHA to uphold its solemn trust obligations to our beneficiaries.  OHA will review and give serious consideration to the Auditor’s recommendations, some of which are already being addressed by OHA.

Given the seriousness of several of the Auditor’s findings, I have already proposed that the Board immediately adopt moratoriums on the use of Fiscal Reserve funds as well on the use of Trustee Sponsorships and other agency Sponsorships until the Board approves amendments that address concerns relating to those policies.

Again, OHA is committed to the change necessary to best serve our people.

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