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Govt ministries ignore Auditor-General’s recommendations

A number of government ministries continue to ignore recommendations from the Office of the Auditor-General (OAG), as evidenced by unauthorised expenditure and failure to account for public funds, the latest report from OAG has revealed.

The Auditor-General is, among other things, constitutionally mandated to audit the accounts, financial systems and financial management of all departments, institutions and agencies of government, all provincial and metropolitan councils and all local authorities.

In her audit report for the financial year ended 31 December 2019, Auditor-General, Mildred Chiri said some of her recommendations in the previous audits had not been implemented.

“Out of 356 recommendations I made, 94 were fully implemented, 88 were partly implemented and 174 were not implemented,” she said in her recently published 163-page report.

The Ministry of Health and Child Care is one of the ministries that failed to implement some of the previous recommendations by the OAG.

“Variances between the budget amounts as per the Supplementary Act and per the Appropriation Account were still noted,” decried the Auditor-General.

“During the year under review, the amounts shown in the Appropriation Account submitted for audit were at variance with the amounts shown in the Supplementary Act. Expenditure amounting to $10 444 618 was not adequately supported by invoices/receipts and proof of payments to date. Payment vouchers and the related supporting documents for expenditure amounting to $516 042 for Masvingo Provincial Hospital were still to be availed for audit inspection.”

Chiri said the Ministry of Information Communication Technology and Courier Services failed to avail for the audit-proof of payments for direct payments made in 2018.

“The 2018 return for Contingent Liabilities were not adjusted to reflect the nature of transactions that led to variances between the opening balances and closing balances for Contingent Liabilities in the 2018 financial year,” she said.

Turning to the Statement of Public Financial Assets, she said the amount due of $25 310 419 remained outstanding as no repayments were made by TelOne.

The Auditor-General said her office noted that Revenue for the Women Affairs, Community, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Ministry reported on the Revenue received return totalled $86 117 whereas the SAP Ledgers figure amounted to $57 814 giving a variance of $28 303.

“The Ministry has not yet shown proof that the revenue variance of $28 303 was investigated. Therefore, the issue was still outstanding.”

Section 112 of the Cooperative Act [Chapter 24:05] states that the Registrar may at any time (a) inspect the records, books and accounts of any registered society; and (b) carry out a physical check of property and assets, including stock and cash in handheld by a registered society.

“However, during the financial year ended December 31, 2018, the Ministry did not conduct the inspections and audits of the cooperatives due to shortage of staff,” lamented Chiri.

“The Ministry has not yet shown proof that they carried out inspection and audit of cooperatives.”

Chiri however said some ministries were taking steps towards implementation of her recommendations.

“I would want to acknowledge the ministries which have taken steps to implement my recommendations, details of which are highlighted in my 2018 Report of the Auditor-General on Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts.”

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