Parliament yesterday adoptedthe 2011-2012 Public AccountsCommittee’s report(PAC) despite the displeasure ofthe Minister of Defence, Justice andSecurity, Ramadeluka Seretse whodisapproved it. Seretse wanted thereport to be amended and his Ministrybe disassociated with it as heclaimed that the Committee had actedbeyond their jurisdiction whenexamining the ministry he heads.Seretse’s ministry has been underfi re recently over what is seen asthe exorbitant rental of a property inthe Central Business District (CBD)belonging to property developerSayed Jamali which the PAC hasdeemed irregular.
According to Seretse, aportion of the report thatrefers to his Ministry wasnot meant to be addressed beforethe PAC, “This is to say that thePAC did not have the jurisdictionto actually look into the issuerelating to the Ministry of Defence,Justice and Security thatis contained in the PAC report.According to standing order 105;it shall be the duty of the PACto examine after the end of eachfi nancial year, the accounts andstatements prepared and signedby the accountant general in accordanceof the provision of thefi nance and audit ACT,” he said.He said the matter relatingto his Ministry with regards toseeking accommodation is not amatter dealt with and reported inthe end of year fi nancial report ofthe auditor general.
“The matterbefore the committee regardingthe accommodation issue wasnot included in the auditor general’sreport,” he emphasized.The PAC report had revealedthat following the advice that acquisitionof offi ce accommodationhad been decentralised andthat they could go ahead withthe search for offi ce space, theMinistry went ahead to look fora suitable offi ce space and theyidentifi ed one in the CBD. It isfurther indicated that no attemptwas made to search for any suitableproperties in the database atthe Ministry of Lands and Housing.On the 27th February, 2012,the land lord at the CBD propertyresponded to the Ministryof Defence’s offer to lease thepremises and submitted his rentalquotation of P 2, 830, 211.00per month excluding portioning,furnishing and VAT.Seretse said Parliament wasout of order to adopt a reportwith a portion that differed withthe provisions of the Parliamentstanding order.
“We cannot discusssomething which should nothave been discussed because theparticular person that purports totable it did not have the jurisdictionto go into it,” he said.Member of Parliament for TatiEast, Guma Moyo said that hedid not think that the matter presentedby Seretse was proper becausehe was misleading people.“The authority for them to lookfor a new building for the headquartersdates back to February2012. The accounting offi cerwho appeared before the committeebrought this issue whenhe was examined. This matter isproperly before Parliament fordebate,” he said.The chairperson of the PAC,also MP for Lobatse, NehemiahModubule said there are issuesraised during the examination;“You do not close your eyes tothose issues, and we follow themup until we know how they wereconcluded. We have to note thatsome issues maybe omitted bythe auditor general during auditing.It is possible that duringtheir auditing they might skipsome things.
Then as the PACwe have the mandate to say theparticular issue is not appearingin their books and fi nd out why,”he said.An analyst with a focus oncorporate governance, LucasModimana said the PAC playsan oversight role in all the publicaccounts. “They have jurisdictionin every public enterprise;there was no problem with themintervening in the matter that theminister is complaining about,”he said. He further noted thatthe PAC does not have to waitfor the auditor general’s report ifthey suspect that there is misuseof public funds anywhere in thepublic enterprises. He said theMinister’s move to disassociatehimself with the report was a tacticto block the investigations asthe case is already handed to theDirectorate on Crime and EconomicCrime for investigation.