Namibia: Auditor General denounces cities for non-compliance
Auditor General Junias Kandjeke expressed dismay at 26 local authorities and 10 regional councils breaking the law by failing to submit updated financial statements.
Some institutions have several years of pending reports but have blamed Covid-19 and a change in the reporting system.
The GA’s special report on the non-submission of financial statements by certain local authorities, regional councils, statutory bodies and funds, until the financial year ended June 30, 2020, was submitted to parliament last week.
The 26 local authorities listed in the report with outstanding financial statements are Rehoboth with four, Rundu (three) Eenhana, Katima Mulilo, Opuwo and Lüderitz with two each.
The town halls of Oshakati, Ruacana, Usakos, Helao Nafidi, Khorixas, Oniipa and Omuthiya each have an outstanding report for the 2019/20 fiscal year.
The municipalities of Okahandja and Grootfontein are also accused of failing to comply with the stipulation of Law 23 of 1992 by failing to submit updated financial statements.
The municipalities of Berseba, Bukalo, Gibeon, Gochas, Kalkrand, Maltahöhe, Otjinene, Stampriet, Tses and Witvlei are also on the list of culprits.
According to Kandjeke, the non-submission of financial statements hinders the execution of his mandate and causes unnecessary delays and that is why he expressed it in the National Assembly.
“A significant improvement has been observed since the previous report, but local authorities still do not comply with the requirements by not submitting updated financial statements,” he said.
The Erongo Regional Council is added to the list with an outstanding 2019/20 financial report. Kavango East as of 2018/19, 2019/20, Kavango West Regional Council has four outstanding statements dating back to 2016/17 to 2019-20. Khomas has exceptional 2019/20. Kunene Regional Council has 2019/20 while Ohangwena, Oshikoto and Zambezi also failed to submit the latest financial statements.
The regional councils of Omaheke and Otjozondjupa have 2018/19 to 2019/20 reports pending according to the report.
Kandjeke said that another concern is the increase in the number of requests to the GA in terms of their respective acts for an extension of the submission of financial statements.
However, the regional director (CRO) of the Khomas region, Clément Mafwila, denied that the council had an exceptional statement, saying there had been a delay caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the transition of standards. put in place by the government.
“We submitted our statement, but of course we had to request the extension of the submission as we were delayed by the migration of information from the Regional Council’s Recognized General Accounting (GAMAP) to the International Public Sector Accounting Standard (IPSAS). ). When we finished the process, it was the lockdown era where people were working from home. We submitted but not in time, ”he explained.
Kavango West CRO Erwin Katewa confirmed that the board did not submit the financial statements for the periods indicated due to various operational challenges such as the creation of the new region which was not accompanied by the financial resources necessary to recruit all the Relevant key operational positions in both finance and administration positions.
“Since then, the Council has functioned below its capacity in terms of staffing. In addition, the communication network infrastructure also contributed to the delay as our server was only installed towards the end of 2019. Other migration operations from manual integrated financial management to system IT took some time. due to a lack of staff to enter data for all outstanding financial periods, ”he explained.
Katewa further explained that the administrative and financial divisions now have the necessary human resources.
“The delay was therefore caused by external factors beyond our control. Finally, we are confident to inform you that by the end of October, all outstanding financial reports will be ready for submission,” he said. added.
Oshakati City Council spokeswoman Katarina Kamari also denied the GA’s allegation, saying her office had granted an extension, which the council honored.
“In our letter to the Office of the Auditor General, Oshakati City Council requested an extension for the presentation of our financial statements for fiscal year 2019/2020. The Office of the Auditor General has given us a submission date of October 30. 2020, which the board honored, ”she said.
“As we speak, the Office of the Auditor General has appointed an independent audit firm by the name of Vital Assurance Registered Accountants and Auditors, which currently performs the board audit from September 20-24, 2021.”
The mayor of Helao Nafidi, Darius Shaalukeni, confirmed that the council did not submit its statement because there was a minor issue caused by the switch from the GAMAP reporting system to the IPSAS system.
“These systems have just been changed without training, but we are almost done correcting the 2019/20 and 2020/21 declarations and we will submit them as soon as possible,” he said.
Another problem highlighted by Kandjeke was that local authorities relied on consultants to prepare their financial statements due to lack of capacity.
“The Auditor General’s office has obtained Treasury approval to exempt all local governments from paying audit fees for five years from April 2014, on condition that local governments use the savings for building up capacities so that they are able to prepare their financial statements by March 2019. This is an ongoing concern of which little or no progress has been made in recent years, ”he said.
The GA recommended to the Ministry of Urban and Rural Development to develop a training program for the staff of local authorities in the drafting of financial statements.
Several calls were made to the above-mentioned regional directors and city councils for comment, but attempts were unsuccessful.