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M1.4 billion from nine years ago yet to be regularised

…As the Audit report gives another adverse opinion on government spending

Lerato Matheka

Government consolidated financial statements do not present fairly the financial position, the Auditor General (AG) has said in the March 2018 audit report released last Friday.

The Auditor General indicates that there was a transfer of M450 million from the Trust Monies Account to the Consolidated Fund in the financial year 2016/17, and the same amount was later transferred from the Consolidated Fund to Recurrent Expenditure Account contrary to the requirements of Section 112 of the Constitution.

“There are no Supplementary Appropriation Acts to regularise the requirements of the Constitution of Lesotho. The Constitution requires that an Appropriation Act should approve the issue of funds from the consolidated Fund to meet expenditure under separate votes for head of expenditure, which was not the case,” the AG said.

She noted that section 112 (2) (a) of the constitution requires that if in respect of any financial year, it is found that the amount appropriated by the appropriation Act to any purpose is insufficient, or that a need had arisen for the expenditure for the purpose to which no amount has been appropriated by the Act, a Supplement Act should be passed.

“Some Ministries recorded excess recurrent expenditure however, Statement of excess showing the sums spent was not laid before parliament to regularise that expenditure through a Supplementary Appropriation Act.

“The issue of non- clearance of advances from the Contingencies Fund through Supplementary Appropriation Act has been recurring since 2009/2010,”

The AG recorded that a total amount of M1, 144 billion for the years ended 31 March 2018 has not been cleared though the Supplementary Appropriation Act as per the constitution.

The AG noted that the government’s financial statement showed a discrepancy of M498 million existing between the bank balance accounts amounting to M4, 3 billion.

“Note 15 of the financial statements shows that there were 367 accounts held at different banks with a total of 4, 339billion, however, bank reconciliation statements reveal 411 bank accounts totalling M4, 440 billion as of that date resulting into a difference of M101 million.”

“The bank balances at the year-end exclude the bank accounts amounting to M4, 619 million for three foreign mission which did not submit the returns to the treasury. The treasury failed to provide evidence to substantiate withdrawal of M258 million from Central Bank of Lesotho Treasury Bills and Treasury Bonds Accounts,” the AG said also citing lack of bank reconciliation as another factor.

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