How Masvingo Gov Departments fleeced COVID-19 funds – Auditor General

GARIKAI MAFIRAKUREVA   

MIRROR REPORTER

MASVINGO – Auditor General Mildred Chiri has slammed various Government Departments in Masvingo for their lack of accountability in the use of Covid19 funds released by Government since 2020.

In her report for the period Chiri said there was high probability that funds were abused by departments because of the absence of proper operational guidelines. She said that the inefficient use of the funds could also have contributed to the province becoming one of the hotspots for the pandemic.  

She said there were no periodic reports from districts to Provincial Head Offices and this could have seen many ghost workers getting COVID-19 allowances. 

“Hence, there was no safeguard against continuous payment of allowances to unconfirmed beneficiaries. Furthermore, no reports were prepared outlining Net One sim cards which were received, but not loaded with money for beneficiaries,” reads part of the audit report.

Masvingo Provincial Social Welfare officer Stanislaus Sanyangowe, confirmed the negative report and said Government departments have since been given guidelines that they are now following when acquitting such funds.

Chari slammed Masvingo Provincial Medical Director (PMD) for receiving and keeping $14.2 million meant for village health workers for three months in the Bank account from September 18, 2020 and was still there on December 10, 2020.

Masvingo PMD, Dr Amadeus Shamu kept asking The Mirror to call back for a comment until the time of going to Press.   

The report also queried goods worth $1,128 million bought by the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare from OK, TM and N Richards for Quarantine centres in Masvingo Province without authorised requisitions. The report said this is in contradiction of Section 35 (6) (a) of the Public Finance Management Act [Chapter 22:19] which states that every Accounting Officer shall keep or cause to keep proper records of account. 

The audit also says that 5 880 litres of fuel were issued by the government without documented approved requisitions in Masvingo.  

The audit noted the abuse of NetOne lines with airtime that were issued to Government workers without proper records. A lot of the lines could not be accounted for.

The report also queried $18 300 paid to 27 discharged inmates on quarantine at Mushagashe. It said that the date of discharge and payment did not correlate.

Social Welfare Officers, Health Personnel and Police determined the amounts given to discharged inmates.

The Auditor General also queried an amount of $6 993 000 raised by Mushagashe Training Centre for payment of accommodation by Social welfare for COVID-19 inmates. The report said there was no standard accommodation rate used for raising such an invoice and there were no supporting documents attached. The number of inmates paid for or the duration that they stayed was also not cited.

Government ended up paying $1 508 500.

Mushagashe Principal could not be reached for comment as his mobile was not reachable.

The auditor general was also not amazed by an isolation centre which was being put up at Ndanga District Hospital but which remains unfinished from May 15, 2020 up to the time of the report. The target for completing the centre which is a maternity wing converted was September 15, 2020.

The total costs incurred as at December 9, 2020 amounted to $581 481, said the report.

“The Isolation Centre was not operational and outstanding works included fencing, toilets and showers, installation of taps, water back up, procurement of oxygen gas pipe and installing an epoxy floor. There were no beds for the whole unit,” said the report.

The report also said that Masvingo Provincial Hospital did not provide justification for using Direct Purchase method when it procured 50 000 bricks on tender 194/2020. The procurement was valued at $890 000.

 Masvingo Hospital Public Relations officer Chioniso Gono said she can only comment on the matter after checking with her accounts department. https://masvingomirror.com/

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