Saturday, July 11, 2020

BHC’s procurement, audit processes prone to collusion and insider trading- Report

The Botswana Housing Corporation (BHC) has been operating as a haven for looting, collusion and insider trading. This followed the issuance of a report by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) following assessment of affairs of state bodies including BHC.

The report indicates that this identified flaw in BHC dates back to its inception resulting from gaps in its governance system which impeded requisite oversight reviews to take place.

It further states that the level of sourcing of the procurement department has been found to depict gaps in the tender governance process, which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to identify collusion.

Moreover, leakages in the corporation’s internal audit system points to non-compliance as it is said to lack a quality assessment process to measure itself against the Institute of Internal Auditors standards for Professional Practice of internal audit (IPPF) on a frequent basis.

Auditor General, Pulane Letebele, said, “There was no evidence of meetings and direct communications of the internal audit manager and the audit committee chairman to further support the independence of the BHC’s internal audit function (IAU), as required by the audit charter.”

Additionally, the Corporation’s (IAU) has never been subjected to the relevant external assessment processes since inception, to determine both its performance and compliance to international audits standards.

BHC Management responded that they had not been able to implement this aspect of the internal audit charter due to the audit department being short staffed in 2017/2018 operating with 2 staff members.

They admitted to adopting an informal approach to their operations of not recording minutes but using rather notes on matters to be discussed at those pre-planned particular meetings.

“Although management did not provide response to the audit observations, I consider that the matters raised are of sufficient importance to warrant Management comments,” said Letebele.

BHC is also reported to lack a thorough Supplier Vetting Process (SVP). A SVP would help ensure that qualified reputable suppliers were duly identified and approved for addition to the supplier database. Letebele also observed that there was no independent review of the tender evaluation process to ensure that all policies and procedures were complied with prior to the recommendation to the Management Tender Committee.

The corporation has also been accused of not complying with Botswana Income Tax Act when paying self ÔÇôAssessment Tax (TAX). Moreover, at least three identified properties which were fully paid for through the tenant purchase scheme had not been transferred to their owners.

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Sunday Standard July 5 – 11

Digital copy of Sunday Standard issue of July 5 - 11, 2020.