Looters to walk Scott Free after Covid-19 quarantines Auditor General

Looters to walk Scott Free after Covid-19 quarantines Auditor General

Zimbabweans are unlikely to learn the full impact of unauthorised payments, irregular movement of materials and dishonest project expenditure which obtained in Government entities during the Covid-19 lock-down.

This comes after the Auditor General’s office withdrew the services of their staff in Government entities for a period of five months when the pandemic raged, inadvertently leaving the accountability door wide open.

While Government employees are expected to work professionally, many have often turned to illegal practises, taking advantage of lax systems to enrich themselves in the face of sky-high inflation and stagnant salaries.

In an interview with Zim Morning Post on Monday Auditor General Midlred Chiri said, with the time left before the financial year comes to an end, it would be impractical to cover all material aspects associated with the office.

The Auditor General’s Reports contain State Enterprises and Parastatals Report, Local Authorities Report, Appropriation Accounts Finance and Revenue Statements and Fund Accounts.

Government auditors comb through public entities from February to May each year and then release audit reports in June. During this time they were quarantined.

“Like any other organization, the Auditor General’s office was also affected by Covid-19 outbreak and this meant we could not do face to face audits as we normally do,” Chiri said.

Face to face audits are a process where an auditor is deployed to a ministry or parastatal for a certain period where he or she plays an oversight role on the ministry or parastatals’ accounting officers.

The Auditor General’s office stopped working in March up to the end of July due to Covid-19 lock-down regulations.

The officers returned to work for a month in August and took another break until the beginning of October.

“There were few officers who were working from our offices but they could not go to our clients,” said a source.

Zim Morning Post understands that the Auditor General’s office will not produce all reports for this financial year.

“This financial year is a mess. Auditors are focusing on ministries only. There was no time to audit parastatals, so millions of dollars lost will not be known,” said the source from the Auditor General’s office.

The AG has over the years won respect from critics and neutrals alike after exposing rampant illicit financial activities which have left public entities in perennial losses.

Responsible for the audits of government ministries, public sector enterprises and the country’s local authorities, Chiri is among the few accountable public figures respected by both opposition and ruling party officials alike.

Looters to walk Scott Free after Covid-19 quarantines Auditor General

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