Defence ministry slammed for paying August 26 salaries

21 October 2021 | Local News

STAFF REPORTER



WINDHOEK

Auditor General (AG) Junias Kandjeke has raised red flags over the relationship between the defence ministry and the controversial military parastatal, August 26 Holdings, for which the ministry paid staff salaries.

Having gone on a spending spree for years with almost no accountability, August 26 started facing severe financial troubles in 2018, which prompted the ministry to come to the company’s rescue - in contravention of Treasury regulations.

The ministry, according to the AG, spent close to N$4 million during the last financial year to pay salaries of August 26 workers.

“The auditors have queried the relationship between the ministry and August 26. However, the accounting officer responded that the companies listed do not receive any or are not subsidised from the State Revenue Fund,” Kandjeke said in his audit report on the defence ministry for the 2020 financial year, which was tabled in Parliament recently.

For the umpteenth time, the ministry got a qualified audit, mainly due to an avalanche of unexplained spending.

Kandjeke also lamented that his team was not provided with satisfactory answers on why the ministry has to pay salary expenses on behalf of August 26, despite the ministry saying it has no relationship with the company.

Shady

The AG said there was no Treasury approval to pay the salaries.

Apart from the August 26 relationship, Kandjeke is also not satisfied with the unauthorised spending within the power corridors of the military.

It was found that during 2020, the defence ministry’s unauthorised expenditure stood at a massive N$70 million.

This despite the ministry’s accounting officer having indicated that there was no unauthorised spending.

“It is recommended that the accounting officer should put measures in place to avoid overspending and should ensure that planned activities are implemented within the approved budget and correct information should be submitted for budget purposes,” Kandjeke said.

He also blasted the ministry for failing to implement past recommendations.

“Despite the matter being raised in previous audits, no improvement is evident,” he charged.

Ministries and parastatals have over the years not taken recommendations from Kandjeke’s office seriously, a situation made worse by the lack of punitive measures for those who do not implement the recommendations.

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