Defence pays N.dollars 303 391 to ghost attaché

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) spent N.dollars 303 391 on a non-existing attaché purportedly posted to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Auditor General Junias Kandjeke found.

He made this finding in the latest MoD audit report for the 2018/19 financial year which was tabled in the National Assembly by finance minister Ipumbu Shiimi.

Kandjeke acknowledges in his report that indeed a Defence Attaché was appointed on 21 January 2014 and accredited to the DRC for a period of four years.

The attaché’s term commenced on 01 March 2014 to 28 February 2018.

However, during the period under review, no one was appointed as a defence attaché to the DRC.

This Mission has a bank account which is held at Standard Bank, Kinshasa.

It had a closing balance of N.dollars 493 129.31 at the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

“The audit found that a total expenditure of US$ 17 496.60 [N.dollars 303 391] was incurred even though there was no Defence Attaché based in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the 2018/2019 financial year. The auditors were not provided with documents on what the funds were spend on in the absence of an Attaché at the mission,” Kandjeke says in the report.

The auditor wants MoD to explain what the money was spent on in the absence of an attaché.

More so, MoD also opened a bank account without following proper procedure as required by the State Finance Act, Kandjeke further established.

At the closing of the 2017/18 financial year, the Defence Attaché account held in Stanbic Bank (Standard Bank) had a closing balance of N.dollars 493 129.31.

However, during the year of the audit, the same amount was held in under a Trust Merchant Bank, SA, RD Congo, without any Treasury approval.

The State Finance Act under section 4 (a) makes it clear that “an accounting officer may, with the authorisation of Treasury, open an account at the Bank or any commercial bank into which all state moneys received by the accounting officer and as determined by Treasury, shall be deposited and from which all expenditure shall be defrayed and all payments shall be made as Treasury may determine.”

Additionally, the MoD went further to pay N.dollars 18 952.62 on 12 March 2019 is respect of “Spouse Allowance” from the Trust Merchant S.A account.

“No evidence was provided to substantiate the cost incurred as the Defence Attaché who was accredited to that mission term ended in February 2018. No proof was provided for any Defence Attaché being appointed during the period under review,” he said.

MoD promised to dispatch a team of internal auditors to the Office of the Defence Attaché to investigate Kandjeke’s findings and submit an independent report to the auditor-general.

Source: Namibia Press Agency