By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE Electoral Commission of Namibia has underspent its 2014/15 budget by N$13 million despite calls from political parties to buy electronic voting machines with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the Presidential and National Assembly election in 2014 and regional and local authority elections last year.
The under-expenditure is contained in the report of the auditor-general and forms part of the Commission’s annual report.
In 2014 ECN cited lack of adequate fund as the reason they could not purchase VVPTs for the elections. This led to the Rally for Democracy and Progress, and the Workers Revolutionary Party to lay litigation in Namibia’s courts calling for the Electoral Court to stop the national elections claiming that the use of EVMs without a verifiable paper trail would leave the door open for election rigging to take place.
“Auditor General Junias Kandjeke recommended that the accounting
officer should put measures in place to avoid under spending of the budget.
“Although treasury approval was obtained to utilise expected savings for the defrayal of excess expenditure by the way of virements during the year, two operational subdivisions were exceeded with N$34 898.04. These excesses are unauthorised in terms of section six of the State Finance Act,” Kandjeke
Also cited by the Auditor General is the department of veterans’ affairs whose original budget books do not agree with original budget amounts in its appropriation account.
The report showed among others the general services division whose original budget was N$34 367 000 while the appropriation account was N$30 367 000; a difference of N$4 million was recorded. Policy of heritage and social affairs’ original
budget was N$1 474 653 000, however, the appropriation account showed N$1 474 153 000, there is a difference of N$4 500 000.
The appropriation account is the account of any governmental ministry that receives a credit. An appropriation account is reduced by the costs incurred by the ministry to perform the task or complete the project for which the credit was given.
“It is recommended that the accounting officer explain these differences. Furthermore, the names of the two main divisions are differently reflected in the book.”
Accounting officer in the department Ambassador Hopelong Ipinge’s reasoning on the under expenditure in the appropriation account is it was caused due to vacant positions of the consultant and the special advisor.
“The budgeted amount could not be fully utilised as planned. This led to a huge under spending in other services and Expenses, Travel and Subsistence Allowances, employer’s contribution to GIPF and remuneration.
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