By Thandeka Moyo
The Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare has failed to account for or distribute goods donated by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) which are reportedly lying idle and losing value in storerooms.
In her 2018 report, Auditor General Mrs Mildred Chiri said the ministry had failed to account for the goods which are meant to be distributed to vulnerable and needy individuals.
“There was poor accountability for goods donated to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) held at Northcort Training Institute. Items donated were inconsistently being recorded either as bales, sacks, bags by quantities or by weight instead of maintaining a standard unit of measurement of classification of the goods,” said Mrs Chiri.
She said Northcort Training Institute personnel received the donated goods without physically verifying the quantities against the Issue Vouchers raised by Zimra.
“From interviews held with the staff, there were instances when deliveries were made by transporters in the absence of the Ministry’s head office administration personnel for accountability purposes as they are the ones who would have collected the items from Zimra,” she said.
Mrs Chiri said during a physical inspection of the donated goods, bales, sacks and bags of donated clothes and shoes were open and their contents were scattered on the storeroom floors.
“Although the Northcort Training Institute had a stores register in place, the register did not include vital information such as full description of items (specifications), quantities received, quantities issued, running balances and signature of the recipient,” she said.
Mrs Chari said four brand new and four used tyres were issued to one of the Ministry’s administration officers without the approval of the accounting officer. The recipient officer was the one who originated and authorised the letter of issuance.
According to Mrs Chiri the Ministry did not have a clear policy for management and distribution of the donations.
“At the time of the audit (March 12, 2019), I noted that there were over 200 bales of clothes and shoes, 16 brand new tyres and 1 200 second hand tyres of different sizes that were being kept at the institute, of which, these goods were being damaged by rodents and deteriorating in quality due to adverse weather conditions,” she said.
Mrs Chiri said there was no evidence of periodic or regular physical stock counts by supervisors both from the Ministry’s head office and the institute.
She said donated goods are exposed to misappropriation if the Ministry does not put adequate controls for delivery, receipt, recording and custody of goods.
“Failure to consistently record donated items compromises the accountability of same and without physical verification, it would be difficult to ascertain whether the received donations were properly recorded and accounted for,” said Mrs Chiri.
She recommended that the ministry should ensure that goods donated are consistently recorded using the same unit of measurement.
“The Ministry should ensure that bales, sacks and bags of donated goods are kept sealed at all times. Stores register should capture all important details such as full description of items (specifications), quantities received, quantities issued, balance (in stock) and signature of the recipient on issuances” said Mrs Chiri. The Chronicle