Lack of Accountability At Town Councils

LACK of accountability at town councils across the country continues unabated as the latest reports by the Auditor General highlight missing funds and lack of proof on how the money was spent.

The latest information show that local authorities of Helao Nafidi, Khorixas and Okakarara are facing serious financial problems.

Helao Nafidi, a town in the Ohangwena region, could not explain how N$2 million realised from the sale of plots was used while N$185 000 from the Build Together programme could not be accounted for during the financial year that ended June 2013.

The Auditor General pin-pointed up to 13 incidences where the town council could not provide proof to the auditors on its shares in Nored.

The same council could not provide documents of sites and names of billboard space being leased out.

“This is a reflection of the inadequacy of control,” Kandjeke said.

The Khorixas town council has been in the news over the years. A group of council officials and councillors were arrested in 2011 by the Anti-Corruption Commission on charges of corrupt practices and fraud.

“The integrity of staff in appropriate positions should, however, be reviewed to ensure that qualified personnel are employed in respective positions,” Kandjeke said.

The AG said he was unable to express an audit opinion for the financial year ended 30 June 2013 due to issues such as the integrity of the council leadership, accuracy of information, lack of accountability and internal controls.

According to the report, the fixed assets register could not be used for audit purposes. For instance, there is a vehicle on the fixed assets register that was sold through a public auction while there is also a vehicle that is not reflected on the fixed assets register.

The council did provide documentation on the Build Together programme.

Kandjeke said the council could not explain the N$618 606 discrepancy between the salary register and financial statements.

Another council that the AG found wanting, is Okakarara in the Otjozondjupa Region.

Kandjeke outlined 17 reasons why he could not form an opinion about the financial position of the council in 2012.

The council lacked supporting documents for several transactions, inadequate control, disorganised record-keeping, long overdue debts.

Among the unaccounted transactions is a N$6,1 million that was given to the town council for Targeted Intervention Programme for Employment and Economic Growth (TIPEEG).

Others are unforeseen expenses of N$900 000.

Efforts to get comment from the chief executive officers of the tree councils were not successful as they were all out of their respective offices.

Source : The Namibian