Sunday, May 16, 2021

Auditor General slams misappropriation of traffic fines for Ipelegeng wages

The Auditor General has slammed government for diverting road traffic fines from the Roads Traffic Fund (RTF) for payment of wages for Ipelegeng workers.

In her latest report, Auditor General Pulane Letebele states that in view of the abundance of funds in the Road Traffic Fines Fund, which has been the subject of the Auditor General’s comment, the Accounting Officer as in the past, had made an advance of P14┬á686┬á717 towards the payment of wages for Ipelegeng workers, pending availability of funds in the relevant vote of the expenditure.

“In the event, only P5┬á390┬á689 was reimbursed during the year under review. I do not consider this a proper use of the fund in terms of its purpose,” said Letebele.

Government set up a Roads Traffic Fund (RTF) to receive funds collected from the stinging road traffic fines that members of the public have been complaining about.

The severe fines and other penalties are part of the amended road traffic laws that came into effect on April 1, 2009 and have been seen by some as long overdue to fight many traffic offences.

Letebele noted that the sharing of the traffic fines equally between the Consolidated fund and the fund despite comments in previous reports, had still not followed the terms of the Statuary Instruction No. 40 of 2001 which provides for quarterly remittances to the fund and the not half-yearly as currently done by the Administration of Justice. The method of sharing which includes all other fines in the revenue item, favoured the Fund to the detriment of Consolidated Fund.

Letebele states that in terms of the Fund Order, the funds of the Funds are to be used for the purchase and maintenance of traffic offences detective devices and for financing activities aimed at promoting road safety and curbing road traffic offences.

However, Letebele said, because of the blurred line of division of road traffic and general duty Police functions, there has been the tendency, in her view, to meet normal recurrent expenditure budget items from the Fund.

The establishment of the Fund followed negotiations between government and the Ministry of Defense, Justice and Security to create a Fund to have a 50/50 share between government and the Botswana Police Service. There is still a raging debate as to how 50 per cent of fines will benefit Batswana if it is allocated to Police operations.

“The purpose of the Fund is to receive, deposit and administer the road traffic fines imposed under the Road Traffic Act,” the government said in a previous statement.┬á

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper