New State Finance Act

panacea to corruption?

A former member of the Public Accounts Committee has called for the urgent tabling of the new State Finance Bill in order to guard against corruption, wasteful expenditure and mismanaging of public funds.
Johan de Waal, the former chairman of the opposition party, DTA, believes that if authorities are serious about fighting corruption and wasteful expenditure, a new State Finance Act that will bring penalty clauses for Accounting Officers that do not adhere to the established rules on public expenditure, should be implemented without delay.
He said: “The new bill should be tabled in Parliament this year. Whenever the new State Finance Act prohibits Accounting Officers from certain actions like unauthorised expenditure, the opening of unauthorised bank accounts or ignoring Treasury Instructions, the Act should have appropriate penalty clauses so that Accounting Officers that do not adhere to the rules can be punished for their wrong doing.”
The former MP said it is also essential for audit reports from the Auditor General to be published on time and in line with the time-lines prescribed in the current State Finance Act adding that such audit reports are the only mechanism available for the public to judge the effectiveness of the financial management of government ministries, offices and agencies as well as regional and local governments.
“The new State Finance Act should thus strengthen these time-lines and ensure, by way of penalty clauses, that Accounting Officers adhere to these time-lines,” he said. Further, de Waal said, all audit reports should be tabled in Parliament before the tabling of the next budget in the National Assembly although he concedes that audit reports will always be one year late.