GOVERNMENT BAD BOYS FAIL AUDIT

GOVERNMENT BAD BOYS FAIL AUDIT

Controversial government parastatals have failed to submit audited 2016 financial results to Office of the Auditor General (OAG), Pulane Letebele. Having been exposed of squandering taxpayers millions in questionable transactions, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and Botswana Railways (BR) have not concluded their 2016 reports in time for submission to OAG.

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(Pic:MONIRUL BHUIYAN/PRESS PHOTO)

Controversial government parastatals have failed to submit audited 2016 financial results to Office of the Auditor General (OAG), Pulane Letebele. Having been exposed of squandering taxpayers millions in questionable transactions, Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA), Botswana Tourism Organisation (BTO) and Botswana Railways (BR) have not concluded their 2016 reports in time for submission to OAG.
In failing to submit audited reports to OAG the parastatals have violated the Acts that govern them, and compel them to submit their audited returns. The parastatals have however, not only failed to submit audited results to OAG, they have also failed to account before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).

As it stands the Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC) has submitted two docket to the Director of the Public Prosecution (DPP) to prosecute for possible corruption at Botswana Railways, Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security told Parliament early this year. The Office of the Auditor General says in terms of Section 21 of the Botswana Railways Act, (Cap 70:01), the Organisation is required to submit to her the accounts for audit within 4 months of the end of the financial year, or such extended time as the Minister may direct, “The audit of the accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2014 was not concluded until October 2016, which was 26 months outside the statutory timeframe.”

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Letebele states that in her previous report, she had indicated that the Botswana Railways had sought and was granted an extension of time for the accounts of the year ended 31st March 2015, pending conclusion of the audit of the 31st March 2014 accounts.

“Regrettably, the audit was still not finalised at the time of writing this report as the responses to my findings released to management in February 2016 were only provided to me in mid-December 2016,” she said, adding that these accounts are now 18 months outside the statutory timeframe and are likely to take up to an additional 3 months to finalise.

The OAG says accounts for the financial year ended 31st March 2016 were only submitted for audit in October 2016, which was 3 months late. “The audit is still on-going pending finalisation of that for the 31st March 2015 accounts.” Letebele says it has to be noted that it has been sometime since Botswana Railways had submitted their accounts for audit on time as envisaged by the Act.

BTO another notorious board-less parastatal has told Lebele that “accounts of the financial year ended 31st March 2016 were not ready for submission as the audit had not been concluded.” BTO has been found wanting by the PAC, which led to Minister of Environment, Conservation, Natural Resources and Tourism Tshekedi Khama being accused of interference by the previous Chief Executive Officer, Thabo Dithebe. For almost a year now, BTO is without a board of Directors despite Tshekedi’s promise to PAC that it was to be appointed months ago. Dithebe, before being fired accused Khama of micro managing BTO and undermining his authority.

The Office of the Auditor General says in terms of Section 22 (2) of the Botswana Tourism Organisation Act (Cap 42:10) the accounts should be submitted for audit 3 months after the end of the financial year. “To the extent that the audit had still not been concluded, and the reports required by the Act not submitted to the Minister 10 months after the end of the financial year, the requirements of the Act had not been complied with.”

The controversial Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) in the media recently for misappropriation of funds, has failed to submit its report stating that the audit is still in progress. OAG says “by arrangement, the agency is to submit its annual audited accounts to me for review and inclusion of the review results in my report to the National Assembly, for the benefit of the Honourable Members.”

There has been an ongoing forensic audit concerning CEDA Venture Capital Fund (CVCF) for many years and to date it has not been completed. Under CVCF 10 year deal, VPB in 2003 was given P200 million fund to manage through investing in different economic sector through either debt or equity. When the 10 year deal ended in 2013, some of the companies invested in had been liquidated. It has not been ascertained how the funds were spent.

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Majube covers the economy and public finance. He also manages production. He has worked in various publications in the last ten years, Specialising in Business and Features. He has held the position of Desk Editor at the weekly the Echo, and most recently was part of the award winning Business team at Mmegi. In recent times Majube has covered the liquidity challenges of the financial sector as well as the Bank of Botswana’s oversight role in the banking sector.