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Q You have had a long history in the Office of the Auditor General of Botswana, culminating
in your appointment as Auditor General in
2010. To what do you attribute your successful
growth in the office? What advice would you
give to others looking for similar growth within
their own career path?
A Within the first six months after joining the office in 1983, I had already completed
several complicated audits such as audits of
revenue collection and construction projects.
My reports were immediately recognized by
management. This recognition motivated me to
research and keep on producing even better results.
The best reports are included in the Auditor
General’s Annual Report, which goes to the
I took advantage of on-the-job training, which
led me to specialize in value-for-money audits
and, later, information systems (IS) support and
IS audits. I always made sure that I possessed the
relevant knowledge and skills needed for my job—
these were scarce skills then and still are today.
My advice to my colleagues is that employees
who progress to the top are those who derive
satisfaction from their work, develop themselves,
are willing to take new challenges and are not
afraid of change. I strive to excel in my work
and I am patient and loyal to the public service.
Furthermore, I always take advantage of the
opportunities provided to me.
Q What do you see as the biggest risk factors being addressed by IS audit professionals?
How can businesses protect themselves?
A More often than not we have come across many government departments that
have questionable governance practices. With
the pervasive use of information technology in
business processes across government has come
the critical need for strategic leadership to ensure
that the organization’s IT sustains and extends
the organization’s strategies and objectives. The
absence of leadership and organizational structures
from which to drive IT investments leads to a high
risk of failure. Despite the many developments in
governance there are still many leaders that fail
to see IT governance as an integral part of overall
enterprise (corporate) governance. As a result,
many IT units within organizations are left to direct
their activities leading to poor strategic alignment.
Another prominent risk factor is poor management
of IT projects. Many government departments
do not have the technical expertise to develop
IT solutions for their business needs. This often
results in the department outsourcing the system
development process and, as a result, introducing
such risk factors as vendor failure to deliver,
poor quality, lack of documentation and missing
functionality. Lack of a system development life
cycle (SDLC) has been shown to lead to more
errors and cost overruns. Even more worrying is
the loss of business knowledge or ability to take
over responsibility from the vendor. The outcome
of this is that the new system is often abandoned
or the organization is tied to a perpetual support
contract with the supplier.
Robby B. Sebopeng was appointed the auditor general of Botswana
in 2010. He had been the acting auditor general since 2008 and the
deputy auditor general from 2003-2008. His career began with the
Botswana Government in 1983 as an assistant auditor in the Office of
the Auditor General.
During his career in the Office of the Auditor General, he
introduced the application of monetary unit sampling, general audit
objectives, and the concepts of risk and materiality. He pioneered
the establishment of email, Internet access and an automatic
computer backup system as part of the Office’s disaster recovery
plan. He introduced COBIT® in Botswana’s public sector to ensure
that business objectives are achieved and that undesired events are
prevented or detected and corrected.
In his personal time, Sebopeng enjoys spending time with his
family, listening to music, reading, gardening and traveling.
Robby B. Sebopeng, CISA