Accountant General’s office reforms hailed

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Bereng Mpaki

FORMER Accountant General, Sam Mphaka, has hailed the proposed reform of the Accountant General’s office saying it would enhance its efficiency.

The National Reforms Authority (NRA’s) economic sector committee last week presented a report proposing reforms for the office.

Among other things, the committee proposed that the Accountant General’s office should be included in the country’ constitution to increase its independence and autonomy. Once that is done, the Accountant general will have power to stop public officials from misusing government funds.

While presenting the report last week, Economic sector committee, chairperson, ‘Mammako Mohale Lerata, said as the practical custodian of the public funds, the AG must be empowered with constitutional powers to properly manage the public funds.

Currently, she said, public funds were in danger of being mismanaged since there is no constitutionally designated custodian.

The NRA eventually did not adopt the economic sector’s report asking the committee to carry out more benchmarking on its recommendations before presenting the report.

And this week former Accountant General, Mr Mphaka, said empowering the office with constitutional powers was welcome as it would help the institution in delivering its mandate of keeping proper records of government books.

Mr Mphaka, who served as the accountant general from 2014 to 2017, said the institution in its current state was hindering economic development through its failure to curb rampant mismanagement of public funds.

“Including the Accountant General’s office in the constitution is the way to go since we have rampant mismanagement of public funds.

“If we really want to uphold good public financial management standards, then we must constitutionalise the Accountant General’s office. All the financial mismanagement that is happening is because the institution does not have constitutional powers to stop public officials from misusing the public purse.

“There is basically no asset register for government’s assets and no one knows exactly how many and how much assets in and outside the country the government has. The Accountant General is unable to enforce registration of the government property because the office does not have the powers to do that.”

Monyaola Mosoloane, the Lesotho Institute of Accountants (LIA) chief executive officer, also hailed the proposed Accountant General’s office reforms.

“We are following with keen interest the proposed reform of the office of the Accountant General as we have been advocating for it for a long time. Any economic reform process that would not include the Accountant General would be futile because that office must be empowered by the constitution to properly dispatch its mandate without undue interference,” Mr Mosoloane said.

 

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