ALL Basotho Convention (ABC) legislator, Nyapane Kaya, has accused government ministries and departments of intentionally neglecting to reconcile their accounts to hide embezzlement of public funds.
Mr Kaya made the allegations at the Monday session of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) with the Ministry of Social Development.
Mr Kaya was holding fort for the PAC chairperson, Selibe Mochoboroane who was not present.
Even though he did not put a figure to the money that he claimed was lost in the mismanagement of the public funds, Mr Kaya said government was losing a lot of money through corrupt practices.
“We cannot succeed as a country if we use public funds there are no reconciliations made,” Mr Kaya said.
“We have learnt that reconciliations are not done on purpose because people want to hide the misappropriation of public funds.
“Internal audits have to be done on a regular basis but nothing like that has been happening. We know that most of the government ministries, if not all, do not do internal audits and this creates an opportunity for misuse of public funds.”
Mr Kaya said the same practice prevails at secondary schools where the schools’ managements and their boards do not conduct financial audits of the money they receive from government as grants for vulnerable children.
Mr Kaya said there have been reports that in some schools, senior members of the management were using some of the money that the government disburses for vulnerable children for personal purposes.
“There have been reports of schools managements embezzling the grants for vulnerable learners. We have heard that in one school the principal and a board member took M10 000 and invested it in one of the money laundering schemes but they lost all the money when the scheme closed down,” Mr Kaya said.
Mr Kaya also lamented the alleged favouritism in the issuance of grants to vulnerable citizens where the poorest are reportedly overlooked while the relatively better off families benefit from the social assistance programmes.
The government offers social assistance to various vulnerable groups of the society that include children, people living with disability and the elderly.
“There is an outcry from the communities that some better off families were receiving social assistance while those who are worse-off are not receiving any assistance. This makes the selection of the beneficiaries very questionable. We want to understand the criteria for enrolling beneficiaries in the programmes,” Mr Kaya said.
Matsieng legislator, ‘Matsepo Ramakoae who is also a member of the PAC, said according to the 2015 Auditor General, Lucy Liphafa’s report, there were some discrepancies in the distribution of donations to orphans and vulnerable children.
Ms Ramakoae said it was not clear how and who is selected to be enrolled in the social assistance programmes.
“There is indeed a problem in our communities with people who are selected to benefit from the grants. It is not clear why some people are selected for the programmes and why others are left out. We want to understand the method that is used to identify the most vulnerable people for the programmes,” Ms Ramakoae said.
The 2015 Auditor General’s report has shown some irregularities in the distribution of aid goods to orphans and vulnerable children where there was no clear documentation of the distribution list, making it doubtful if the items would have reached the rightful beneficiaries.
“There were instances where items issued to beneficiaries were not marked to indicate that they had all been received. That poses a risk of items being consumed by people who are not the rightful beneficiaries,” the report said.
There report has also revealed that there were unsupported payments to orphans and vulnerable children, contrary to the 2014 Treasury Regulations that original supporting documents be attached for any expenditure incurred by a government entity.
“Contrary to the requirement, there were no supporting documents attached to the payment vouchers amounting to M44 046 for support of school fees, transport, clothes and groceries to orphaned and vulnerable children.
“There was no evidence that the listed children received clothes and groceries, as there was no register of any document signed by beneficiaries and/or the children to ensure accountability,” the report said.