THE Auditor General’s Report on accounts of the Republic for the financial year ended December 31, 2020, has revealed that 50 prosecutors were drawing double salaries from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts and National Prosecution Authority amounting to K2,706,005.
And the report has revealed that the Ministry accrued debts in amounts totalling K593,201,082 and US$601,306 in respect of personal emoluments, subscriptions to local and international bodies, among others, dating as far back as 2016.
The report stated that the officers continued receiving double salaries for periods ranging from five to 41 months.
“In 2016, the government made a decision to transfer all prosecutors in the public service to the National Prosecution Authority. In this regard, 50 prosecutors from the Ministry of Tourism and Arts (MoTA) were transferred to the National Prosecution Authority (NPA). In January 2018, following the transfer, the officers were introduced on the payroll of NPA. However, it was observed that some officers continued drawing salaries under the Ministry payroll as at 31st October 2020, resulting in irregular drawing of salaries in amounts totalling K2,706,005. During the same period, the officers were also being paid salaries at NPA,” the report stated.
“Despite the payslips indicating that all overpayments and non-recovery of loans should be reported, the officers did not report the overpayments. The officers continued receiving double salaries for periods ranging from five to 41 months. Further, as at 30th June 2021, the irregular salaries had not been recovered and no disciplinary action had been undertaken against the officers.”
The report revealed that the ministry accrued debts totalling K593,201,082 and US$601,306 dated as far back as 2016.
“A review of records revealed that the Ministry had accrued debts in amounts totalling K593,201,082 and US$601,306 in respect of personal emoluments, subscriptions to local and international bodies and other recurrent departmental charges among others dating as far back as 2016. As at 30th June 2021, the bills had not been settled,” the report stated.
The report disclosed that the ministry failed to reimburse borrowed funds amounting to K1,101,111.
“The Tourism Development Fund was established under the Tourism and Hospitality Act No. 13 of 2015 for the purposes of tourism development, tourism infrastructure, tourism marketing, tourism training and research. The following were observed: failure to Reimburse Borrowed Funds. On 15th November 2018, the Secretary to Treasury granted authority to the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Arts to utilise a sum of K1,101,111 from the Tourism Development Fund to execute the tender for the granting of safari hunting/photographic tourism concession in 13 hunting blocks in various game management areas. The amount was to be reimbursed once the contracts were awarded and concession fees paid. As at 30th June 2021, the fund had not been reimbursed 29 months after the borrowing,” the report stated.
“Section 66 (1) of the Tourism and Hospitality Act No. 13 of 2015 states that as soon practicable, but not later than 90 days after the end of the financial year, the Ministry responsible for tourism should submit to the Minister for Finance a report concerning the activities relating to the Fund during the financial year. The report should include information on the financial affairs of the Fund and should be appended to the report: an audited balance sheet; an audited statement of income and expenditure; and such other information as the Minister responsible for finance may require. Contrary to the Act, as at 30th June 2021, the Ministry had not submitted the annual reports for the financial years ended 31st December 2016 to 2020.”
The report stated that recoveries in respect of salary advances of K24,000 and tuition advances of K115,000 paid to seven officers in 2019 and 2020 had not been effected as at June 30, 2021.
“The Terms and Conditions of Service for the Public Service No. 92, requires that an advance of salary is recovered within a reasonable period of time but not 173 exceeding six months, while the Payroll Management and Establishment Control (PMEC) provides for the recovery of tuition advance within a period not exceeding 30 months. However, it was observed, that recoveries in respect of salary advances (K24,000) and tuition advances (K115,000) paid to seven officers in the years ended 31st December 2019 and 2020 had not been effected as at 30th June 2021, resulting in a delay of over 28 months,” the report stated.
The report disclosed that 42 transactions in amounts totalling K343,297 were not supported by documentation such as receipts.
“Financial Regulation No. 45 and 52 requires that all payments by cheque or cash for goods, services and works should be supported by cash sale receipts and that vouchers relating to purchases be supported by an official order and the supplier’s invoices. Contrary to the regulations, 42 transactions in amounts totalling K343,297 for the years ended 31st December 2019 and 2020 were not supported with documentation such as invitation letters, receipts, expenditure returns and list of beneficiaries,” the Report stated.
The report also disclosed that the Ministry paid an officer K50,320 for a trip to Spain but the officer did not travel and only refunded a K20,000.
“Unretired Accountable Imprest Financial Regulation No. 96 (1) requires that special and accountable imprest should be retired immediately the purpose for which they are issued has been fulfilled. Contrary to the regulation, accountable imprest in amounts totalling K9,440 issued to an officer had not been retired and no recoveries had been effected as at 30th June 2021. Further, in January 2020, the Ministry paid another officer K50,320 (K40,880 as per diem and K29,440 as accountable imprest) for a trip to Spain. However, the officer did not travel and had refunded K20,000 leaving a balance of K39,320 outstanding as at 30th June 2021,” the report disclosed.
The report stated that imprest in amounts totalling K56,230 was issued to several officers to carry out various activities but no activity reports were availed for audit.
“Imprest in amounts totalling K56,230 was issued to several officers to carry out activities such as revenue and routine monitoring and reconciliations. However, no activity reports were availed for audit and there was no evidence to show that officers travelled,” the report stated.
“Treasury and Financial Circular No. 01 of 2020 requires that payments relating to conditions of service such as subsistence and other allowances be paid directly into the beneficiaries’ accounts. Contrary to the circular, imprest in amounts totalling K116,250 was issued to eight officers to facilitate payments of subsistence allowance to several officers instead of paying directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts.”
Meanwhile, the report revealed that over 3,000 litres of fuel costing K43,630 was irregularly drawn by vehicles not appearing on the department of National Parks and Wildlife pool fuel account.
“During the period under review, 3,278 litres of fuel costing K43,630 involving 139 transactions was irregularly drawn from the Department of National Parks and Wildlife pool fuel account by 32 motor vehicles not appearing on the department’s motor vehicles fleet without authority,” read the report.