AG blocked by defence

The auditor-general could not access military equipment and operational bases, as he was not allowed by the defence ministry's executive director, the audit report said.

01 July 2020 | Government



Auditor-general Junias Kandjeke was prevented from inspecting N$506.4 million of the defence ministry's expenditure for the 2018/19 financial year.

This is despite the law stipulating that the AG must be granted access to the books of all government entities.

Kandjeke reveals this in the ministry's 2018/19 financial year audit report.

It was submitted to the National Assembly for scrutiny by finance minister Ipumbu Shiimi last week.

The money in question falls under 'operational equipment, machinery and plant'.

Kandjeke could not access military equipment and operational bases as access was withdrawn by the defence ministry's executive director, the report stated. Kandjeke challenged the ministry to explain why these restrictions were imposed in contradiction with the law.

“Section 26 (1) [of the State Finance Act] states that the auditor-general or his delegate shall have access to all books, accounts, registers or statements which are kept in terms of any law in connection with the collection, receipt, custody, banking, payments or issuing of money, equipment and stores by only stationary institutions,” Kandjeke stated.

In his response, current defence minister Peter Vilho, who was the ministry's executive director at the time, stated that “access to military equipment and operational military bases for all civilians, including auditors, remains restricted until such a time the ministry receives a response from the president of the Republic of Namibia, based on the formal request for exemption submitted to the honourable minister of defence”.

Unexplained difference

The AG gave the ministry a disclaimer audit opinion, which is given when an institution fails to provide sufficient evidence for an audit opinion.

The ministry reported that it had spent N$10.5 million on bursaries and study assistance and incidental allowances for staff members undertaking qualification courses.

“However, the general ledger reflects that a total amount of N$12 172 485.47 was incurred. This resulted in an unexplained difference of N$1 682 273.45. It is recommended that the accounting officer should explain the difference,” the AG said.

Unauthorised overspending

The ministry's overspending and unauthorised expenditure continued during the 2018/19 financial year, the report further shows, with N$127.2 million spent without treasury authorisation in terms of Section 6 (a) (iii) of the State Finance Act.

“Despite the matter being raised in previous reports, no improvement [from the ministry] is evident,” Kandjeke reported.

He recommended that the ministry's accounting officer take steps to avoid overspending and ensure that planned activities are implemented within the approved budget.

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