Member of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee (PAC) Guma Moyo says it is evident that there is a crisis with the finance management of the Administration of Justice (AoJ) as they could not give a clear answer as to how and why some officers were overpaid.
The Accounting Officer for Administration of Justice (AoJ), Michael Motlhabi was at pains to explain to PAC yesterday (Monday) how public funds were used to overpay salaries and allowances for officers who were no longer under their pay roll.
He said they have an over expenditure of close to P2 million (P1 647 461), some of which was attributed to the overpayment of salaries and allowances to officers who had retired. He said this was mostly because of lack of resources and manpower at their organization.
According to the accounting officer’s report, there had been overpayment of salaries and allowances that were paid to some officers, who did not return the funds even though they had already retired when they received the said funds.
“Overpayments of salaries and allowances arise where somebody would have resigned and they continue to get a salary that they are not supposed to get. This happens when casualty returns are not made in time to stop the salaries and allowances of those officers. Our organization is large and sometimes because of resource constraints, our monitoring mechanism is not what we would like it to be,” he said.
Moyo also wanted to know whether the payments were really an overpayment or something that they conspired together with the officers. He said Motlhabi should be held responsible for the error as it is his duty to make sure public funds are channeled to what has been agreed upon. He said the lack of clear and justifiable answers from the accounting officer was a clear sign that there was a crisis at management level at their finance department.
While he agreed that the error was made under his watch, Motlhabi went on to refute Moyo’s sentiment that the accounting officer should be held liable for the overpayments, saying those who received the funds had an obligation to report funds that were not suppose to be in their accounts in the first place.
He further noted that there will be a solution to the issue of lack of resources soon as they are planning to hold a conference this year in October that will deal with the issue of lack of resources and manpower.