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K3.2 billion government funds unaccounted for

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CALLS FOR FUNDS RECOVERY—Hajat

Figures in an audit report from the National Audit Office (NOA) indicate that approximately K3.2 billion meant for government operations was unaccounted for between July 2017 and June 2018.

The 2017/18 National Budget was pegged at K1.3 trillion.

The report submitted to the National Assembly by Auditor General, Thomas Makiwa, also encompasses financial statements of statutory corporations for the year ending June 30, 2018.

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Parliament spokesperson, Ian Mwenye, Tuesday confirmed Parliament’s receipt of the report to be submitted to the august House by the Public Accounts Committee.

For instance, the report indicates that the main irregularities which take 73 percent by value amounting to K2.5 billion include fraudulent payments to personal accounts amounting to K444.9 million, stores items not traced to the ledger pegged at K441.6 million and payments made without adequate supporting documents amounting to K301.3 million.

The second category of irregularities which constitutes 23 percent by value amounting to K611.7 million include subsistence allowances paid without being substantiated by the activity reports amounting to K82.9 million, K77.2 million wasted on procurement made without evidence of sourcing at least three quotations, and general materials not accounted for amounting to K76 million to mention a few.

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Other non-compliance without value include abandonment of motor vehicles in the garages, failure to prepare and maintain fixed asset register, failure to produce planned outputs for audit inspection and manual interface between payroll and related systems among others.

“Further investigations should be conducted by special teams on the areas suspected that public resources may have been lost or mismanaged,” reads the statement in part.

Commenting on the report, Institute of Internal Auditors’ president, Mackson Banda, said going forward, it would be ideal for NAO to be timely in the audit.

He said the aim of the audits is to help seal existing loopholes, hence, the need for timeliness in submitting such reports.

“We also need to do more in terms of creating an environment in which the results of reports like these are being worked on by empowering authorities such as Anti-Corruption Bureau and the Police so that the loopholes are sealed and those who embezzled money are arrested,” Banda said.

In an interview Tuesday, governance expert, Rafik Hajat, advised the government to follow proper rules such as tabling of the report in parliament and measures taken to recover the funds reportedly misused.

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