Sunday, March 7, 2021

PAC frustrated by transfer of accounting officers

The outgoing chairman of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Nehemiah Module, has expressed worry at the frequent reshuffle of permanent secretaries and government departmental directors, which he said affects their performance.

Addressing members of the media at the close of the PAC session which ended on Friday, Modubule said there is need to keep transfer of such officers, who act as accounting officers for their respective ministries and departments, very minimal. Recently, some of the accounting officers who appeared before the Modubule led committee could not account for some transactions at their ministries as they were working elsewhere during the period under review.

“For the sake of accountability and good performance we recommend that transfers of accounting officers be kept at a minimal level if possible, as frequent changes affect their performance,” said Modubule.

Amongst the new faces at this year’s PAC was Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education and Skills Development, Richard Matlhare. It was clear that Matlhare found it very difficult to explain why it is difficult to trace records of students owing in the loan book, especially those that did not return home after completion of their studies abroad. This was because he was relatively new at MOE. Still during his appearance before the PAC, Matlhare and his entourage of over 10 senior officials failed to explain some figures they had submitted to the committee. They were sent back as mistakes were identified in almost every page of the report they had submitted to the committee. In the submissions of the education ministry, information on outstanding debtors was missing and in some instances it was written that debts were to be verified.

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