The auditor general has expressed concern over the accounts of the National Petroleum Fund (NPF) saying accounts for the financial years ended 31st March 2016 and 2017 respectively have not been submitted.
“The accounts for the financial years ended 31 March 2016 and 2017 have not been submitted to me as the appointed auditor, for audit purposes. At the time of writing this report, I understood that the accounts for the year ended 31 March 2016 were in the process of being finalised by the former Fund Managers while those for the year ended 31 March 2017 were being finalised by the new Fund Managers,” reads the Auditor General’s report.
The report further says “The continued failure to submit these accounts on time is a cause for concern for both myself and the Public Accounts Committee as it denies the Committee the opportunity to examine these important accounts for the operation of the Fund in a timely manner.”
The issue also came up at the Parliamentary Accounts Committee where the Acting Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Mineral Resources, Green Technology and Energy Security Dr. Obolokile Obakeng was summoned to give evidence before the committee.
Obakeng started by expressing his apology to the committee for the non-submission of the said audited financial statements for the two years. This he said was “due to the findings from the audit that leads to a number of issues that the former manager could not address adequately; and more importantly, the issue of a figure of P2 027 279 (two million, twenty-seven thousand, two hundred and seventy-nine) that was not properly accounted for.”
Obakeng later told the committee that they have since recovered the funds. “We would like to tell this committee that we have since recovered the funds. The 2 million was not stolen; it just meant that they could not account for it adequately. It was not appropriately accounted for. It was missing. So, in the end they had to pay that amount of money. The P2 million is interest due to government,” he said.
Another committee member Dithapelo Keorapetse wanted to know whether an audit query on the P2 million on the previous financial statements is a valid reason to stop financial statements for 2 full years, adding that he thought it was an invalid reason. “Yes, with explanation,” the Acting Permanent Secretary responded, amidst murmurs from the shocked PAC committee members.
Lack of submission of accounts is a violation of the law particular the NPF order and the Public Finance Management Fund, according to the Auditor General. “They could have at least produced something,” the Auditor General advised during a PAC. The NPF looting case is ongoing at the PAC and will also be heard at the high court. This week, Advocate Sydney Pilane informed this publication that he had not yet received instructions from the attorney doing the case.