Auditor-General Ms Mildred Chiri has issued adverse reports on 22 ministries for poor corporate governance, abuse of fund accounts, flouting procurement procedures among other ills, while 10 ministries were given the thumbs up.
In her executive summary for Government ministries 2013 audit report, Ms Chiri said the 22 ministries constituted 67 percent of ministries and there was need for them to pull up their socks.
“Having obtained sufficient appropriate audit evidence, most of the audit conclusions noted misstatements, material to the accounts. At least 31 ministries out of 33, about 94 percent, had material audit findings warranting management’s attention. As such 22, about 67 percent of the ministries had qualified (adverse) audit opinions on their appropriation accounts,” reads the executive summary prepared by Ms Chiri.
“One of the ministries had a disclaimer of opinion. Out of the 10 ministries with unqualified (non-adverse) audit opinions, either had other material issues reported on. There were 19 fund accounts out of 40 audited had modified (qualified, disclaimer or adverse) audit opinions.”
Ms Chiri noted irregularities on overtime allowances.
“There were payments of overtime allowances to employees and bonuses to casual workers without approval from Treasury and the Civil Service Commission,” she said.
On procurement of goods and services, Ms Chiri said rules were flouted in most ministries.
“This resulted in flouting of formal and informal tender procedures, failure to purchase to best advantage, payment before supply of goods and purchase of overpriced goods and services,” read her report.
“Some ministries were effecting payments to suppliers without the prerequisite supporting documents such as invoices, receipts and delivery notes. These deficiencies, if not addressed would continue to drain Government of critical resources.”
On revenue collection and debt recovery, audit revealed significant variances amounting to $409 million between the Exchequer bank account and Public Finance management system.
“Due to failure by ministries to maintain proper accounting records like properties registers, cash books and ledgers, the amounts disclosed under revenue and debtors were rendered unreliable,” she said.
“Weaknesses in debt recovery systems in some ministries resulted in government being owed more than $50 million in respect of various debtors, long outstanding travel and subsistence advances, outstanding revenue (rentals, survey fees and surcharges) and disallowances.”
She said if these amounts were recovered it would go a long way in funding government programmes in dire need of funds.
Ms Chasi said she feared that the money might not be recovered.
“Furthermore audit revealed that a total of $3,3 million was advanced by Government to three parastatals as loans without signing loan agreements. In addition to compromising accountability and transparency, the absence of an agreement outlining obligations of each party may render the recoverability of the loans difficult,” she said.
Due to weak internal control systems in most ministries unsupported payments were made and losses resulting from suspected fraudulent activities were incurred involving amounts ranging from $3 000 to $3,5 million.