Wednesday, October 4, 2023

CEDA comes up short again before parliamentary committee

The Citizen Entrepreneurial Development Agency (CEDA) hasn’t mended its old non-compliance ways.

CEDA has failed to hand over complete financial statements to the parliamentary Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises. The parastatal is also frustrating the Auditor General by not submitting its accounts.

On the 7th of October, Day 1 of the committee meetings chaired by Member of Parliament (MP) for Nkange, Nevah Tshabang, CEDA’s chief executive officer (CEO) Thabo Thamane appeared before the committee.

“The committee has made an observation that it was clearly written to you that we want the financial statements for 31st March 2020, but you provided those of 31st March 2019,” Tshabang said adding that this has become a trend.

Last year the committee asked for the financial statements for 31st March 2019 and CEDA provided those of the previous year. “There is an observation that regarding this matter you do not comply. It’s a recurring problem and we don’t understand why,” Tshabang said. The committee chairperson added that they had an agreement that CEDA should comply by end of December last year and that was not done, making last year’s compliance incomplete.

Some members in the committee started to think that, out of the whole host of organisations, about 64 statutory bodies, CEDA was being favoured and had an unfair advantage over others.

CEDA’s CEO Thamane indicated that part of what caused the delay was caused by the agency’s subsidiaries.

“On the 29th of September we wrote and assigned a letter indicating the process where we are regarding the 2020 financial statements and detailing out in that letter the reasons why they have been delayed we’ve finished with CEDA, but the subsidiaries which delayed us will be done in no time,” the CEO said.

Thamane stated that in the same letter, he gave a time frame, and it is expected that by the third week of October the financial books will finally be done.

“The delay in this as indicated last year was occasioned by the long-running battle and marathon issue with CEDA Venture Capital Fund,” Thamane said. He also told the committee that on the 18th of October there is a meeting of attorneys and arbitration should be starting.

The agency has submitted its Statements of Claim. “That’s why we are moving in full force to consolidate and do the two financial years at once. The books that we submitted we were supposed to submit them December and I apologise for that,” Thamane said.

Last year, the state-owned development financing institution had not shared its audited financials with the auditor general in the last five years.

“CEDA had not submitted their annual financial statements and the management letter. In response, the acting Chief Executive Officer stated that the financial statements of the Agency for the financial year ended 31 March 2019 were still being audited and the reasons advanced were that there were initial delays in commencing the audit for CEDA Group Financial Statements for the year ended 31 March 2019,” wrote auditor general Pulane Letebele in the auditor general report for the financial year 2018/2019.

For the financial year ended 31st March, Letebele wrote that he is concerned that it was the fourth year running that the Agency had not been able to submit the required accounts for his review. “I consider this situation unsatisfactory as it denies the National Assembly, through the Committee on Statutory Bodies and State Enterprises, the opportunity to examine the accounts of this body under the terms of the Standing Orders of the House,” Letebele wrote.


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