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$17m unaccounted for in Mugabe's nephew-led Youth ministry

by Staff reporter
18 Nov 2018 at 11:45hrs | Views
At least $17 million was unaccounted for by the Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment ministry, Auditor General Mildred Chiri has said.

In her 2017 report, the AG said the ministry failed to appropriately account for $17 520 015 which was processed under the salary bill without Treasury authorisation.

The ministry was then run by Patrick Zhuwao, before he was moved to the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare ministry between October and November 2017.  He was subsequently expelled from the Zanu-PF party during the 2017 soft coup.

His ministry was said to have misused, misstated and understated funds or failed to convincingly account for expenditure of public funds to the AG.

Chiri revealed that the ministry had for two years in a row mysteriously understated employment costs, leading to an extra $9 862 963 which was paid in 2016 and $17 520 015 which was also paid off for the same reason in 2017 apart from the presented wage bill.

"Payments in respect of salaries and allowances processed by Salary Services Bureau (SSB) amounted to $38 302 307, whilst the ministry's ledger had $20 782 292, leaving a variance of $17 520 015 unaccounted for," Chiri said.

Chiri noted that this dodgy action was in contravention of Treasury Instruction 0952 which states that the sub-head salaries, wages and allowances shall be debited with Treasury's approval.

"The matter regarding accounting for variance had not been concluded between ministry of Youth Indigenisation and Economic Development and the ministry of Finance, and SSB, as a result I was not convinced the Appropriation account showed a true position in respect of expenditure incurred under salaries and allowances," Chiri said.

The ministry implemented mechanisms deemed to integrate young people in Zimbabwe for the beneficiation and value addition to the economic and political framework.

However, Chiri revealed that some of those efforts like the loans given to private individuals as collateral from the account of Youth Development and Economic Empowerment Fund from amounts around $1 808 271 have not yet been returned.

Chiri also revealed that the post-coup youth ministry under president Emmerson Mnangagwa in December 2017 also fell short of her audit as it failed to account for $621 431 at the time the audit was finalised in May 2018.

The ministry, however, responded adamantly and said: "The ministry did not understate its employment costs. The employment costs reported in the Appropriation Account were as per the budget for the year 2017 and subsequent releases by Treasury.

"…it did not tally with the report obtained from SSB as the payments by SSB were done outside the-PFMS system.

"In order to account for the variance, the ministry reconciled the payments made by the SSB against the releases from treasury and the budget allocations," Youth, Sport, Arts and Recreation ministry said.

PFMS is an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system which processes financial transactions and produces reports for all ministries and government departments
Chiri, however, revealed that the ministries were posting expenditure three months after the end of financial year when the audit had already commenced, hence, some transactions may have been misstated or doctored by ministries thus triggering suspicion of credibility.

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Source - dailynews