By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE inaction of authorities to take action against public officials who mismanage and fail to follow strict accounting and bookkeeping processes has irked citizens as Auditor-General Junias Kandjeke shifts blame.
Last week Workers’ Revolutionary Party Member of Parliament Salmon Fleermuys questioned why Kandjeke never acts despite having highlighted mismanagement in financial reports of Government institutions.
Martin Lukato last week also raised concern on inaction from the Auditor-General accusing him of failing the nation.
“The Auditor-General has failed the nation when he experiences missing of millions and billions of dollars from the budget of each ministry and parastatals without recommending them to the law enforcement agents for investigations to be carried out and to bring the culprits to book in order to face justice,” said Lukato.
However, Kandjeke said on Monday that his office does not have the mandate to recommend investigations to be carried out, adding that only the Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts (PCA) has the obligation to question and open criminal charges against officials who are found guilty of mismanaging state funds.
PCA chairperson Mike Kavekotora says his committee can take the legal route to make sure people are in compliance with what the committee is expecting from them.
This follows the release of damning annual financial reports by Kandjeke’s office in which he highlights serious concerns in a manner in which public offices manage their funds and roll out programmes.
Over the past years, public institutions including ministries, state-owned enterprises and agencies could not explain how they have mismanaged, overspent, misappropriated millions of taxpayers’ money in their budgets.
In some instances citizens were denied much-needed basic services because officials failed to implement some of the developmental and capital projects amounting to underspending and subsequence returning of funds to the Treasury.
Also, Kandjeke’s reports revealed that accounting officers who are mostly chief executive officers and permanent secretaries have either been involved in gross financial mismanagement, unauthorised expenditure and deviation from tender pro¬cedures.
Among the institutions whose books are in a mess are the Ministry of Defence which had failed to account for N$44 million in the 2014/15 financial year; Diamond Valuation Fund is one of the State institutions that has unrecorded liabilities and expenses amounting to millions.
Other public institutions cited by Kandjeke last year were the Namibia Students Financial Assistance Fund (NSFAF) and the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC), some of whom did not come with the requested documentation regarding questionable transactions running into millions of dollars.
Another institution is New Era Publication Cooperation (NEPC) whose financial report was tabled in the National Assembly last month by Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein. The Auditor-General again expressed a disclaimer in the financial accounts of the corporation, which owns New Era newspaper, after it failed to explain how it had incurred expenditure of over N$640 000, failed to reconcile PAYE (Pay As You Earn) of N$1.4 million as well as not submitting stamped copies returns from the receiver of revenue, amongst other things.
The report is for the financial year ended March 31 2014.
It was also discovered that the institution had spent N$173 000 in entertainment expenses, N$205 000 for advertising and a massive wage bill over N$17 million, while printing costs stood at N$14.6 million.
Last year NEPC management was grilled by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Accounts for the mess in which their books were found and fraud was not ruled out.
In the latest report Kandjeke has said although Government which funds the institution confirmed that for that year it has advanced N$7 million, and NEPC could not explain a difference of close to N$6 million discovered in the accounting record.
Kandjeke also observed an underestimated provision amounting to N$2 million.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015