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More than US$8 million unaccounted for under Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi

Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has failed to account for US$8 064 405 the treasury disbursed to his ministry, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri noted in her latest report.

According to her report for the financial year ended December 31, 2020 on Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts, the Justice Ministry failed to account for a variance of ZWL63 255 339 (US$602 432) on the official rate at the time of concluding the Auditor-General’s audit on November 10, 2021) the Salary Services Bureau (SSB).

Salary Services Bureau (SSB) records for compensation of employees costs had a total of ZWL1 401 046 214 whereas the Appropriation Account disclosed a total amount of ZWL1 337 790 875 resulting in an unreconciled variance of ZWL63 255 339. The financial statements may have been understated by the stated variance.

No evidence was produced to show that monthly reconciliations were being done to validate SSB payments against Ministry staff records. Treasury Circular B/1/88 dated June 5, 2018 requires Directors of Finance of line Ministries to perform monthly reconciliations of billed amounts by SSB against employment cost expenditure shown in Public Financial Management System ledgers,” read the report.

Auditor-General Midred Chiri (AFP Photo)
Auditor-General Midred Chiri (AFP Photo)

Chiri further noted that set-offs amounting to ZWL504 032 (US$4 800) were made with service providers against their tax obligations.

“However, supporting source documents such as goods receipt vouchers, supplier invoices, account statements and reconciliations nor receipts to show that the services paid for were provided, were not availed for audit examination. I was therefore unable to determine whether the paid amounts formed a proper charge to the Ministry,” she said.

The report further read: “The Ministry incurred expenditure amounting to ZWL10 202 515 (US$97 166)which was not fully supported by invoices/receipts, goods received notes and contract documents.

“I therefore, could not satisfy myself whether the payments made were a proper charge against public funds. This was contrary to the provisions of Section 59 (2) (c) of the Public Finance Management (Treasury Instructions), 2019 which states that; “On no account shall a payment be made on the basis of a quotation only. The supplier shall be requested to submit an original invoice for the amount claimed and this shall be attached to the voucher”.

Chiri also noted that the ministry disclosed unallocated reserve transfers from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development of ZWL2 218 283 699. “This differed with a balance of ZWL2 214 170 607 in the Unallocated Reserve Register at Treasury resulting in a variance of ZWL4 113 092 (US$39 172) that was not reconciled. However, the Ministry could not avail documents to support the additional transfers disclosed. I raised a similar issue in my prior year audit report,” she said.

“The Ministry engaged various service providers without entering into valid contracts or service level agreements during the financial year under review.

“A total of ZWL32 479 276 (US$309 326) was paid for the services which included service and hire of vehicles. Section 81 (1) of the Public Finance Management (Treasury Instructions), 2019 places the responsibility for signing contracts with the Accounting Officers or persons delegated by them in writing.

As she raised in her prior year audit, “the Prisons and Correctional Service Commission did not submit its annual report to the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs for tabling in Parliament.

“The matters dealt with by the Commission during the previous year were thus not submitted to the Minister and Parliament for scrutiny in contravention of section 18 of the Prisons Act [Chapter 7:11].

“The Ministry submitted an incorrect sub-Exchequer bank account reconciliation statement showing a total of $245 561 150 deposited into the bank account. The amount was not reconciled to the Public Financial Management System cashbook balance of $312 558 091 (US$2 976 743).

“Without the reconciliations, I could not establish the correct amount of revenue received which should have been transferred to the sub-Exchequer account.”

The Auditor-General said she was not provided with supporting documents for the revenue amounting to ZWL320 831 782 (US$3 056 017) collected from Company Registrations, Trademarks and Patents, Stamp Duty, Refund of Miscellaneous Payments from Votes and Other revenue sources.

“The Ministry’s investments in Innscor, which declared and paid dividends of ZWL12 258 (US$117) during the period under review, were not disclosed in the revenue received return.

“I could also not rely on the Receipts and disbursements return since it excluded the dividends received from investments mentioned above. The proceeds from the investments in Pamberi/Qhubekani by the Ministry and the nondisclosure of the profits during the period under review meant that the Ministry’s outstanding revenue return was unreliable. I raised similar issues in my prior year audit report.

“The Ministry purchased fourteen (14) Toyota Hilux vehicles valued at $79 990 207 (US$978 632) in December, 2020. The supplier delivered 11 vehicles on February 12, 2021 and the other three (3) vehicles valued at $17 140 759 remained undelivered at the conclusion of the audit.

“I was not furnished with explanations as to why the vehicles remained undelivered and there was no evidence of follow up with the supplier on the outstanding vehicles,” Chiri noted in her report. Nehanda Radio