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Govt questioned over N$806,9m unauthorised spending

Popular Democratic Movement deputy leader Jennifer van den Heever wants finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi to account for the N$806,9 million spent without the treasury’s authorisation.

The government’s most recent audit report shows that eight offices, ministries and agencies (OMAs) including the Office of the Presidency, veteran’s affairs and the National Assembly, among others, spent N$806,9 million without the treasury authorisation.

This report is for the government books from 1 April 2021 until 31 March 2022.
Van den Heever posed her question to Shiimi in the National Assembly yesterday.

“With votes such as the president, National Assembly and international relations and cooperation accounting for a variance of N$15 214 323.12. What justifies these unauthorised expenditures?”

She said nine OMAs collectively returned N$333,5 million back to the treasury.
“Among these OMAs are votes such as urban and rural development (N$1 520 686 031. 21), agriculture (N$124 314 081.81) water (N$432 482 731.02).

“What is the basis of the under expenditure recorded, particularly in the wake of these votes being crucial for the socio-economic benefit of the Namibian people?” Van den Heever asked Shiimi.

The other OMAs are the prime minister’s office (N$9,4 million), National Council (N$5,1 million), mines and energy (N$13 million), fisheries and marine resources (N$6,4 million), works (N$20,4 million) as well as transport (N$95,5 million).

This amounts to N$333,5 million.

In the report, the finance ministry told auditor general Junias Kandjeke they will continue to monitor “expenditure patterns and engage OMAs to execute their budgets towards ensuring the set objectives”.

Furthermore, Van den Heever wants the minister to account for why Kandjeke’s office was unable to obtain background and verification documents for the employees hired during the financial year.

The report notes: “When screening and background checks are not done – staff hired may not be suitable for the positions they are required to fill; and new employees with suspect backgrounds may introduce uncontrolled risks”.

“What is the reason for this?” asked Van den Heever.

Another matter Van den Heever raised was that the ministry has not implemented recommendations from the previous audit in 2018.

“Why were the previous recommendations not implemented and when will the disaster recovery plans and the business continuity and DR documentation be reviewed, as the ministry committed itself to doing?”
Kandjeke said without these recommendations being implemented, it poses a risk of the government experiencing huge losses.

This includes business failure, financial loss, data loss, failure and expensive costs to recover when a disaster strikes, noted the report.

Shiimi also has to answer why there are no supportive procedures on registration, keeping track and termination of personal devices.

“When does the ministry estimate to implement the recommendation put forth by the audit report?”
This, Kandjeke cautioned, can lead to unauthorised access to confidential information.

Shiimi is expected to respond tomorrow to Van den Heever in the National Assembly.