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National Audit Office decries underfunding

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Sosten Gwengwe

Public funds in embassies and other government departments are at risk of being abused if the government does not consider increasing the 2020/21 allocation for the National Audit Office (NAO).

Acting Auditor General Thomas Makiwa Tuesday told the Budget and Public Accounts cluster committee of Parliament that his office has been allocated an estimate of K1.3 billion which is K280 million less than what they were allocated in the 2019/20 budget.

“The effect of that is that the coverage, the depth and complexity of our audits will be affected because when we are auditing complex areas we require more financial resources and time. Because of the gap that we have, and we might not even audit some of the clients,” he said.

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Embassies are likely to be the most affected government entities in terms of auditing as they require substantial amounts of money to be visited.

Parliament’s Budget and Finance chairperson Sosten Gwengwe said it is unfortunate that oversight institutions such NAO are being underfunded, a thing which he said may give room for more abuse of public resources.

“What we would want to emphasise is that oversight institutions should be properly funded. When we talk of wastage of resources it is because there is not enough capacity at the National Audit Office to be able to go around and do their work,” Gwengwe said.

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Gwengwe, for instance, said NAO has only managed to audit four embassies giving room to abuse of public resources.

Makiwa also said his institution is in dire need of a well rehabilitated building as the one it is using now is not conducive for its operations.

“The Buildings Department and the Ministry of Lands have done all the assessments in terms of capacity that we require,” he said, while appealing to Parliament to provide resources for the new project.

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