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Audit visibility critical to avert fraud - Mthimkhulu

16 Mar 2023

Audit visibility remains critical in averting fraud and misappropriation of public funds, Assistant Minister for State President, Mr Dumezweni Mthimkhulu has said.

Presenting the Office of the Auditor General (OAG)’s 2023/2024 budget proposals on Wednesday, Mr Mthimkhulu said the Auditor General played a critical role in the accountability ecosystem as well as a thriving democracy.

“This office has no permanent abode and this does not augur well for the visibility of this organisation,” he said, adding however that plans were afoot to construct a separate building befitting its stature.

He informed Parliament that the project was planned to commence in the first year of the 2023-2025 Transitional National Development Plan (TNDP) with the engagement of a transactional advisor.

He said the project would be implemented through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) model to harness the expertise and efficiencies of the private sector.

He added that technical assessment was being carried out to establish the precise implications in terms of funding and human capital requirements.

The assistant minister also highlighted the importance of Information Systems Audit in a digitised economy, saying the Auditor General would in the coming year continue to invest in digitising the audit process during the TNDP period and beyond.

In line with the 2017-2023 strategic plan, Mr Mthimkhulu said coverage had increased for different types of audits, including finance and compliance, performance, specialised as well as information systems.

“Demand for audit services increased in general and forensic audit in particular and in the 2021/2022 financial year, the requests for special investigations increased significantly,” he added.

Again, he said in the current financial year, three specialised audits were planned, three requested by government ministries and departments while one was requested by a whistle blower.

“One of these audits is complete and two are ongoing,” he said.

Further, he stated that 26 local authorities were audited in the 2021/2022 financial year, adding the upgrade of 10 local authorities to full council status however had resource implications.

“Special investigations or forensic audits are inherently intensive hence require enhanced capacities in terms of expertise and numbers. These require capacities hence place a huge strain on existing resources and the expansion of the Specialised Audit Division is thus imperative and requires unfreezing of the moratorium on staff expansion,” he said.

Mr Mthimkhulu requested Parliament to approve the OAG’s budget estimates for the 2023/2024 financial year amounting to over P109.1 million, which was an increase of 17.4 per cent over the 2022/2023 financial year allocation of over P92.9 million. Ends

Source : BOPA

Author : Thato Mosinyi

Location : GABORONE

Event : Parliament

Date : 16 Mar 2023