In his official response, the Permanent Secretary (PS) said that the supporting documents were available for verification.
However, the Auditor in his comments said supporting documents for payments totaling Le119, 240, 480 were submitted and verified, leaving a balance of Le130, 241, 000. Therefore, the issue remains partly unresolved.
Furthermore, it was observed that the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) completed its financing of the Diversified Food Production Project (DFPP) on the project closure date of December 2015. It was observed that Le800million was transferred to the project account in 2016, which was the year after its closure and there was no evidence submitted for audit which showed that the project had liabilities which could have justified the request for and receipt of this amount. From the review of payments vouchers and supporting documents, it was observed that the monies were used mostly to pay the salaries of contract staff. Furthermore, no documentary evidence was made available to show that assets (such as vehicles, furniture and equipment) worth millions of Leones were transferred to the Ministry after the project completion date in 2015. There was no written evidence from the Financial Secretary to confirm that government’s commitment to finance the Project will continue after the end of donor funding.
In March 2015, the Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) was closed by the donor, World Bank (WB).The audit team observed with dismay that even after the project was closed, government disbursed the sum of Le238,463,218 (two hundred and thirty eight million, four hundred and sixty three thousand, two hundred and eighteen Leones) as counterpart funding to the Project.
It should also be noted that almost a year since the project was closed; it is yet to hand over the project assets such as office furniture, equipment, motor vehicles, etc. worth millions of Leones to the Ministry. In addition, evidence was not submitted to show that alternative arrangements for disposing of the assets had been reached. It was recommended that the Project Coordinator should refund this money to the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account and evidence of such payment submitted for audit inspection.
The assets (vehicles, furniture and equipment) should be handed over to the Ministry within 15 days of receipt of this report. Evidence of the handing over of the project’s assets should be made available for audit verification, otherwise the Project Coordinator will be asked to pay into the Consolidated Revenue Fund Account the total cost of these assets.
In his official response, the PS said: “Evidence of project liabilities and correspondences from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, to confirm government’s commitment to finance the project after donor funding, are available for audit verification. The process of handing over of project assets to the Ministry is ongoing and when completed, the ASSL will be duly notified.”
However, the Auditor noted that evidence of project liabilities and correspondences from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, to confirm government’s commitment to finance the project was not submitted for verification and therefore the issue is still unresolved whilst supporting documents for the utilization of Le238,463,218 in respect of the Rural and Private Sector Development Project (RPSDP) was also not submitted for verification, and evidence of the handing over of the project’s assets to the Ministry was also not submitted for verification.
Debate on the Audit 2016 report has started in parliament.