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Sunday, April 15, 2007

K3bn overdrawn from govt, donor accounts in the 2003/4 Financial year
by Maxwell Ng’ambi, 14 April 2007 - 08:10:49

The latest audit of national accounts has revealed that government in the 2003/4 financial year overdrew K3 billion from both the consolidated advances and deposit accounts, which acting auditor-general Lantone Gomani described as a breach of statutory provisions.
Public Accounts Committee of Parliament (Pac) chairperson Respicious Dzanjalimodzi said on Wednesday his committee received Gomani’s report and will at the end of this month summon the controlling officers to explain the transactions.
Gomani says the overdrafts from the consolidated deposit account impacts on the recurrent budgets of individual ministries once they settle the overdrawn accounts.
The 2004 audit of government accounts is the latest so far as there are no audit reports covering years between 2005 and 2006.
Former Finance Minister Friday Jumbe says he cannot remember off hand why government overdrew from the consolidated advances and deposit accounts because it happened some time back.
Gomani, who released the 2004 audit of national accounts to Parliament in March this year, said on Monday government is only allowed to use K450 million from the consolidated advances account but ended up overdrawing K350 million. This, said the current top state auditor, is a great concern.
Gomani explained that a consolidated advances account is an account Treasury allocates to individual ministries to deal with personal advances of civil servants such as general purpose, education, emergency and motor vehicle advances while consolidated deposit accounts deal with donor funded development projects that do not appear in the main budget.
In the year under review government departments overdrew K361,7766,566 from the consolidated advances account with the Ministry of Disabilities being the highest for having overdrawn by K74,222,449 and Education Ministry is second at K42,929,719.
The other departments that overdrew from the consolidated advances account are State House, Judiciary, Office of the President and Cabinet, Defence, National Roads Authority, Police, Treasury, Home Affairs, Accountant-General and National Economic Council.
Gomani said because government has already breached statutory provisions, the solution was to regularise the status quo by increasing the ceiling to a much higher figure than the present K450 million. He said the revisions can be made in Parliament because it was the same House that came up with the figure for the consolidated advances account.
In the report Gomani says: “I inquired from the controlling officer whether corrective measures have been put in place to clear the overdrafts, but as of writing this report I had not received any reply”.
When he was asked on Monday if he had now received a reply from respective controlling officers, Gomani said he had not.
On the consolidated deposit account which covers donor funded projects that do not normally appear in the national budget, Gomani laments in his report that in terms of Treasury instructions (Finance) deposit accounts are not supposed to be overdrawn.
The report reveals that government overdrew about K2.7 billion from donor funded projects.
“Gomani said it is now up to Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to summon them. Pac will summon controlling officers to explain,”

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