ACTING Auditor-General Rheah Kujinga has flagged the Office of the President and Cabinet (OPC) over funds transferred to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s home province of Midlands and Bulawayo which could not be accounted for.
The OPC is the lead office of the state that is charged with the responsibility of coordinating, supervising and guiding the formulation, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of government policies.
The OPC also oversees programmes and projects for economic growth, sustainable development and better livelihoods of the people.
However, in the Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts for the year ended 31 December 2022 tabled before Parliament, Kujinga said she could not track how money amounting to ZW$108 900 000 disbursed to the Midlands provincial office from the OPC was utilised.
The acting AG also said she could not trace another tranche of cash amounting to ZW$120 038 449 which was disbursement to the Bulawayo provincial office by the OPC.
Part of Kujinga’s report reads: “The Office (OPC) disbursed funds from the Sub-PMG account to the Provincial Affairs and Devolution Offices bank accounts for monthly operations. During my visit to Midlands and Bulawayo, I noted that the Provincial Affairs Office and Devolution Offices received total disbursements amounting to
ZW$108 900 000 and ZW$93 825 439 respectively.
“However, the disbursements were not accompanied by release letters indicating how the funds were to be utilised.”
Highlighting the risk involved, Kujinga said the funds may not have been used for the intended purposes, thereby affecting the OPC’s service delivery.
“OPC Head Office disbursements to Provincial Offices should be accompanied by release letters giving guidance on how the funds should be utilised,” said Kujinga.
She also bemoaned the lack of tight measures to control funds disbursed to provincial offices by the OPC.
“The OPC head office should ensure that all provincial affairs and devolution offices must process their transactions in the PFMS to enable consistency and accurate financial information as well as to adhere to controls set by government,” she said.
The acting AG said this after noting that Provincial Affairs and Devolution Offices for Midlands and Bulawayo’s expenditure of ZW$93 825 439 and ZW$120 038 449 respectively was processed outside the PFMS.
This was contrary to section 36 (5) of the Public Finance Management (Treasury Instructions), 2019 which states that accounting officers should ensure that all proposed expenditure for their ministries is in line with the budget and that all transactions are captured in the PFMS (Public Financial Management System).
PFMS is highly recommended as it ensures transparency and accountability in the use of public funds.
“The Office (OPC) should have made use of kiosks that were established in Provinces to capture expenditure in the PFMS,” said Kujinga.
She said the failure to capture transactions in the PFMS may result in the OPC not being able to fully account for expenditure incurred by provincial offices.
The financial statements for the OPC which were audited were for the year ended 31 December 2022.
They comprise the appropriation account, finance and revenue statements and other supporting returns.
The total amount of money allocated to the OPC during the year under review was ZW$79 546 799 000.