Mthuli Ncube cannot account for US$22 million worth payments

Business Reporter

FINANCE Minister, Mthuli Ncube’s department has failed to account for US$22 million transferred to various service providers on behalf of several government ministries, the latest Auditor General, Mildred Chiri’s report has revealed.

The AG said the Treasury failed to account for payments made on behalf of the line ministries amid reports that 42 line ministries even disputing the fact that the payments were made on their behalf.  

“My review of the direct payments register showed that the Treasury made various foreign payments totalling to US$22 024 406 made to suppliers and service providers during the year ended December 31, 2020.

“The expenditure was not uploaded in the Public Financial Management System 40 and hence, this expenditure was not accounted for in the Ministry’s Appropriation Account for the year 2020 with 42 line ministries disputing treasury’s claims that millions of US$ direct payments were made on their behalf,” said Chiri.

She said such anomalies could lead to risks of having total expenditure for the year under review being understated, hence the need for Treasury to regularise foreign currency denominated direct payments.

Chiri also found the Finance Ministry wanting for he approving a budget for Unallocated Reserve as per the Appropriation (2020), Act, 2019 at $1 394 632 000.

“However, the Finance Ministry transferred a total of $102 085 420 418 to line ministries, resulting in unauthorised excess transfers of $100 690 788 418. The excess expenditure is still to be condoned by Parliament in terms of Section 307 of Constitution of Zimbabwe,” she said.

Chiri warned that if expenditure is not managed within the approved budget, potential acts of financial indiscipline might occur.

She recommended the Treasury to approach parliament to regularise the excess transfers and in future adhere to law which requires parliament’s approval of expenditure prior to disbursements.

The AG’s report also observed that publicly guaranteed loans, the financial statements submitted for audit reflected an opening balance as at January 1, 2019 of ZW$425 000 000, which did not tally with the certified closing balance for net contingent liability of ZW$497 500 000 as at December 31, 2018 resulting in a variance of ZW$72 500 000.

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