By Megameno Shikwambi
The ministry of defense has spent millions of dollars for three consecutive years without getting approval from treasury, a 2018 audit report by Auditor General Junius Kandjeke has shown.
Between 2014 and 2015, eight subdivisions within the ministry spent a total of N$43 million, while N$76 million was exceeded between 2015 and 2016 by four ministerial subdivisions.
The audit also discloses that a total of N$371 million was spent by 20 subdivisions without authorisation.
The report further discloses that the 2016/17 financial year saw the ministry’s total vote being exceeded with an amount of N$185 million.
“In his response on the draft report, the accounting officer indicated that the ministry informed the ministry of finance on the difference between the FDC report and general ledger, however no action was taken,” said Kandjeke.
The audit aims at determining whether the ministry of defence’s financial performance and the use of the appropriated funds is in compliance with the Appropriation Act, Act 1 of 2017, the State Finance Act, Act 31 of 1991 as well as the Public Procurement Act, Act 15 of 2015.
Kandjeke has noted with concern that although treasury approval was obtained to utilise certain expected savings for the defrayal of expenditure through virements during the year, four subdivisions were exceeded with a total amount of N$88 million.
Three were operational subdivisions and one a development subdivision.
The expenditure was unauthorised in terms of Section 6 (a) (iii) of the State Finance Act, 1991 (Act 31 of 1991). “It is recommended that the Accounting Officer should put measures in place to avoid overspending and ensure that planned activities are implemented within the approved budget,” said the Auditor General.
Kandjeke said the accounting officer indicated that the ministry agreed with the findings but that they informed the ministry of finance on various occasions of the difference between Funds Distribution Certificate (FDC) and general ledger but no action was taken. All expenditure on services of the state is defrayed from the state account. However the audit found that the ministry made payments amounting to N$7 829 out of the state revenue fund from the ministerial fines revenue head without treasury approval. The Auditor General also found that a similar payment was picked up during the audit of the 2016/17 financial year.
The accounting officer of the ministry of defense has been advised to comply with the State Revenue Act, 1991 (Act 31 of 1991).
“In his response on the draft report, the accounting officer indicated that it is unfortunate that treasury approval has not been obtained prior to the refunds being made. Efforts are made to prevent similar occurrence,” the Auditor General noted.
Further, the accounting officer is required to submit an account of debt owing to the state for the financial year under review. However, the AG noted that the accounting officer did not submit the statement in accordance to the reporting requirement of circular D12/2018 of the Auditor General.
“Subsequently, he also did not comply with treasury instruction EA0500 which deals with the recovery of debt of the state,” said the AG.
He has instructed the accounting officer to explain why treasury Instruction EA 0500 was not complied with. Meanwhile, the august House appropriated an allocation of N$6,045,639,000 in 2017/18 financial year. The execution rate stood at 99.47 % of the appropriated amount.
The Ministry was also allocated an amount of N$6,084,115,000 for financial year 2018/19.
Penda Ya Ndakolo this year asked parliament to support and approve the allocation of N$5,884,817,000 to fund the programmes of the ministry of defence during the 2019/2020 Financial Year.
The minister has expressed that while government continues to demonstrate its commitment to the defence of our country, what disappoints him “is the habitual negative attitude of some of our fellow citizens towards the Defence Budget.
“It seems that while the majority of us and the government understand the necessity of our Defence Force, some quarters of our society appear to understand it as something optional.
And that is a big misconception because the NDF is founded based on the provisions of the Namibian Constitution. Therefore, it is imperative for our people to understand that the existence of the Ministry of Defence and the NDF is not a fluke. The MoD and the NDF are constitutional institutions of the Namibian State,” he said.