THE Zimbabwe Republic Police has for the past two years failed to present its books for 16 farms to the Auditor-General while the Police Service Commission has also failed to submit its annual report to the minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage for tabling in Parliament, in contravention of the law.
In for the financial year ended December 2020 on Appropriation Accounts, Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts, Auditor-General Mildred Chiri says, as a result, she could not ascertain whether police funds were being handled correctly.
“For the second year in succession, I have to report that the ministry did not produce financial records showing how the Police Service farming activities were being accounted for. I was therefore not able to validate whether all expenditure incurred and revenue generated had been properly accounted for and reported at the end of the year,” she said.
Chiri raised concern over transparency in the operations of police farms in light of their failure to declare their books for audit.
“State property and activities may not be fully accounted for if systems are not in place to ensure transparency and effective reporting. The farms and properties must be disclosed in the assets registers of the ministry and activities and proceeds properly reported in line with the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] and other laws and regulations,” she added.
The police defended their shortcomings, saying their internal audit process was slowed down by the Covid-19 pandemic, because of restrictions on movement hence they could not submit all reports to police headquarters for the national audit.
“Financial statements are reviewed by the Police Internal audit before submission to the Police General Headquarters. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the police internal auditors managed to visit five farms whose financial statements for the period under review were submitted to the external auditor,” responded police management.
On the Police Service Commission, Chiri said: “For the second year running I have to report that the Police Service Commission did not submit its annual report to the minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage for tabling in Parliament. This was a violation of Section 58 of the Police Act [Chapter 11;10],” reported Chiri.
Chiri was disappointed by the police’s lax approach to the implementation of previous audit recommendations, especially on the disclosure of the expenditure and revenue of the farms.
“The ministry did not make any progress in implementing recommendations made in my previous report. All the four findings had not been addressed as indicated below. The police service had not yet produced all financial records showing how the farming activities from the 16 farms throughout the country with a total hectarage of 11 906 were being accounted for,” she said.
Police, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission were singled out for failing to present all documentation to enable effective auditing. — STAFF WRITER.