The Group’s internal audit function is responsible for providing independent, objective assurance to the Board regarding the implementation, operation and effectiveness of internal control systems, risk management and governance of the Group. The objective is to ascertain the extent of compliance with procedures, policies, regulations and legislation, using a risk-based approach and to recommend improvements in control, performance and productivity within the Group. The Audit and Risk Committee monitors the independence and the objectivity of the internal audit function.

The Board relies on the internal and external audit functions to report on any weaknesses and to make recommendations via the Audit and Risk Committee. The objective is to ensure the effective and efficient use of available resources and ascertain the accuracy of information used in the preparation of financial statements. No restrictions are placed over the right of access by the internal auditor to the records, the management and/or the employees of the Group.

Further to the assessment of their expertise and independence, Messrs BDO & Co. were engaged in FY2022 to conduct the internal audit of the Group. The methodology used is based on the selection of specific business cycles, the identification of inherent risks, the verification of key controls in place in view of eliminating or reducing the risks to an acceptable level, the verification of the said controls to ensure that they are operating satisfactorily, the performance of walk-through tests on procedures and processes and the formulation of necessary recommendations to management for the implementation of correction action plans.

The report issued by the internal auditor during the year under review relates to a high level review of financial controls at Premix Ltd (previously Pre-Mixed Concrete Limited) in view of its integration within the Group and the replacement of its IT (operations and accounting) systems. In June 2023, a new mission was kick-started at our engineering division. The objective of this review is to thoroughly assess the adequacy and effectiveness of the controls implemented around the equipment maintenance processes at UBP and to assess the adequacy of processes and controls over equipment maintenance including preventive/planned maintenance and unscheduled repairs. The mission scope also includes the review of controls around maintenance costs, an evaluation of the use of technology within the current processes, an assessment of the adequacy of controls over the supplies/part inventory, a review of contract management with key suppliers for repairs and/or maintenance, a review of pricing and the allocation of spare parts, and a review of the overall efficiency level within the processes around equipment maintenance/repairs.

This year again, no financial issues were identified which would materially affect the figures reported in the financial statements. The recommendations are gradually being implemented by management under the close follow-up of the internal auditor.