Thursday, October 22, 2020

Another gov’t arm falls short

Botswana Examination Council (BEC) internal audit report (2014-2015) has revealed inefficiencies reflecting an unhealthy status of the government Council.

Presented before the Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises, the BEC internal audit report has revealed that bank reconciliations were not performed monthly as well as long outstanding items in the bank reconciliation which are tantamount to fraud.

Contained in the internal report is the inadequate controls over staff advance approval, overpaid staff advances, non-compliance to financial instructions as well as misplacing of imprest records by finance.

“We noted that there were no governance mechanisms in place at BEC to oversee financial planning, budgeting and monitoring activities. The procurement committee does not have in its membership the people with the requisite skills to consider issues on financial planning and budgeting,” reads the findings of the audit report.

The BEC report has also indicated that there is absence of training plan, non-submission of training reports and losses for non-attendance of training outside the country.

The report notes that the current system of paying creditors does not require a reconciliation of creditors’ statement and purchase order list against invoices paid before payment is done. 

It states that the current system relies on posted invoices which are inadequate in preventing duplicate payments of invoices. Purchase orders list had long outstanding orders of more than 90 days standing at P44, 778,790.80, some of which had already been settled or paid. 

“Non-compliance to PPADB Act is reputational risk and there is litigation risk. There is also risk to financial loss due to deprived bargaining power,” reads the audit report.

Another reputational risk and financial loss indicated in the BEC internal audit report is that in 2013, BEC paid Stephen Austin in Pounds instead of Pula resulting in a financial loss of P191 238.94 when the amount was reconverted to Pula.

BEC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Professor Brian Mokopakgosi told the committee that almost all the concerns outlined in the internal audit report have been attended to. 

“The situation that we are in we have found ourselves making some quick decisions because we had no choice,” said Mokopakgosi.

Committee members raised concerns regarding numerous financial losses at BEC as well as procurement plans not being followed and also inexistence of some processes.

Chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and Enterprises Guma Moyo was of the view that poor governance issues lead to mismanagement, corruption and also abuse of authority. 

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