THE long awaited 2019 Auditor-General’s Report will be tabled in Parliament this week after its release was delayed by almost a year owing to constraints caused by the coronavirus pandemic.Critics believe the government has been hiding behind the pandemic so as to gain ground in covering up any anomalies.
The 2020 audit is currently being finalised.
Government auditors failed to complete examining all public accounts when the country went into lockdown in March last year.
In terms of Section 309 (2) of the Constitution, as read with Section 10 of the Audit Office Act [Chapter 22:18], the AG is required to prepare and submit a report of all Government books to the Minister of Finance, who then tables it in Parliament not later than June 30 of each year.
Auditor-General Mrs Mildred Chiri told the media that the completed report had been submitted to Finance and Economic Development Minister Professor Mthuli Ncube, who is expected to present it to Parliament this week.
Said Mrs Chiri: “We have completed the report and we sent it to the Minister of Finance, who is set to table it anytime from now.
“We expect the minister to slot it in next week (this week) and table it.”
She said her office was finalising the 2020 audit.
“We are currently working on the 2020 audit and this will be released in due course,” she added.
The AG’s reports have in the past exposed widespread financial impropriety, mismanagement, failure to follow laid down tender procedures in Government ministries, parastatals and local authorities.
The last Auditor-General’s report exposed shambolic accounting records in some ministries and the diversion of public funds for unintended purposes, while Government also paid for goods that were never delivered.
Lack of funding has often undermined the AG’s work over the years.
In 2020, legislators called for the Auditor-General’s Office to be adequately resourced, saying failure to do so would undermine Government’s thrust to fight corruption and promote good corporate governance in State entities.