FRANCISTOWN: A detailedreport by the Auditor Generalon the managements of theFrancistown city council has identified lack of adherence to fi nancialinstructions and lack of projects supervisionby relevant authorities asthe root cause of overspending bythe council.The damning report in the possessionof North Cast indicates thatwhile it is the duty of council offi -cials to make sure that the allocatedfunds are managed effi ciently, theopposite obtains at FCC; irregularitiesin the tendering process leadingto cost overruns are common.The report states that there is misunderstandingof instructions, carelessnessand evasion of procedureswhich lead to wastefulness. “Themanagement can intentionally circumventcontrol procedures with respectto the estimates and judgmentrequired in preparation of fi nancialstatements,” states the report.
According to the report, the FCCis carelessly extravagant. “The variancesfound in this council werenever investigated to establish thereasons for the over expenditure andto allow for the corrective measures.The identifi cation and investigationsof such variances is a budgetmanual which should be observedwithout compromise. In additionthis exercise could have helped thecouncil to know exactly the cause ofover expenditure and what measureshould be taken to avoid future occurrencesof the same,” the reportemphasized.The report further states that whilethe council management has admittedthe ineffi ciency and ineffectiveness,the expenditure maintained itsupward trend over the years.
It indicatesthat in 2008, out of 23 companiesthat tendered for supply ofbread, jam and peanut butter, a certaincompany (name known by thispublication) was awarded tenderto supply peanut butter at P357.00per 25 kg, but following this on 23April 2008 the council again signeda memorandum of agreement withthe company to supply 505 peanutbutter buckets of 25kg at unit priceof P357.00 for a total contract sumof P180 285.00. In May 8 2008 thecouncil made an order of 720 peanutbuckets.“This order was honored anddelivery was made on 30th May2008 at the agreed unit price totalingP257 040.00. On this consignmentabnormality that skipped theattention of the council is that thisamount was the actual paid to thecompany against the contract sumof P180 285.00 which gives an unauthorizedorder variation of P76755.00.
In addition 720 bucketswere ordered instead of the agreed505 resulting into an unauthorizedorder of 215 buckets valued P76755.00,” revealed the report.Some FCC councilors were dismayedby the report and blamedcouncil fi nancial problems on theincompetence of some councilmanagement adding that some ofthe council employees were deliberatelyfraudulent. They also arguedthat there is no use for the 2009 reportto be released in 2013 whilemost of the employees who wereinvolved in irregularities are no longerwith the council.“There is no use in bringing thereport now because even if we canlaunch investigations most of thesepeople will be nowhere to be found,so this tendency of misusing governmentwill continue because actionis seldom taken,” said CouncilorTabengwa Tabengwa.
Former Francistown MayorShadreck Nyeku lamented thatwhile the council staff who committhis corruption should be answerable,the accusing fi nger alwayspoints to the Town Clerk. This isdisheartening because the TownClerk always has to defend whathe is not responsible for. I think thebest way is look for these peoplebecause they did this deliberatelyto defraud the council,” said Nyeku.However, the Finance CommitteeChairperson Raoboy Mpuang,was optimistic that employees whofail to follow the right fi nancial procedurewill be taken to task as thecouncil has a lost lot of money becauseof them.
In addition he saidthe council management has toimprove supervision of projects toensure that what is reported refl ectswhat is on the ground.