By Kuda Chideme HARARE May 18 (The Source) – Zimbabwe’s parliamentary committee on public accounts on Monday criticized Treasury for failing to adhere to laid down reporting procedures following an audit which highlighted glaring discrepancies in the state’s financial statements.
Finance secretary Willard Manungo appeared before the committee on Monday.
The legislators questioned the completeness and accuracy of information contained in the financial statements after an audit by the Auditor General revealed, among other issues, that the Finance Ministry did not maintain a Public Financial Assets Register with details of loans and investments that were made to parastatals, the private sector and various other organizations.
The audit report also identified differences between current year opening balance and prior year closing balances.
“The audited closing balance for Contingent Liabilities as at December 31, 2011 was $940 995 486 however the Statement submitted for the audit reflected an opening balance of $1 453 366 028 as at January 1, 2012. There was no audit evidence or explanation provided for the adjusted balance,” the Auditor General’s report said.
The lawmakers questioned why Treasury made direct payments amounting to $187 781 965 to service providers on behalf of other ministries, with the audit noting that some of the payments were not adequately supported.
Committee chairperson Paurina Mpariwa (MDC) said Treasury’s conduct did not enhance transparency and accountability in the management of public resources.
Manungo promised to look into the matters raised in the audit and to report back to parliament.
The audit report made note of inconsistencies in the recording of transactions between Treasury and line ministries as well as unreliable balances on the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF).
“Balances made on the returns for the Public Financial Assets returns compiled by line ministries and the Statement prepared by Treasury had different balances, resulting in a net variance of $7 004 897 rendering the statement unreliable,” the report said.
“The returns that feed into the CRF like the Revenue and Finance Statements, Revenue Received and Public Financial Assets had material misstatements resulting in the CRF as a whole being unreliable and inaccurate.”