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CAG report reveals financial irregularities in embassies

29th April 2012
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The Tanzania High Commission in Abuja, Nigeria paid Naira 3,600,000, the equivalent of Sh37,152,000 between July 2011 to June 2013 in house rent for a flat which was never occupied, the Controller and Auditor General (CAG) has revealed.

The payment is in respect of house rent for the residence of the Administrative Attaché in that period but the embassy official had actually returned home by 12/07/2011, the 2010/2011 CAG report on the Audit of the Financial Statements of the Tanzania Embassies/Missions said.

“Thus the flat is vacant and the government received no value on the paid amount,” the report said.

In financial year 2010/2011, some missions and embassies have overspent over three billion shillings, whereas revenue they collected amounted to Sh16 billion against approved estimates of Sh13billion resulting in over collection of three billion shillings.

Apart from the over expenditure revelations, the report recorded a number of other financial irregularities in different embassies. Bujumbura Embassy, for instance, is reported to lack internal audit services, contrary to the Public Finance Regulations Act of 2001, Reg 28-35, which requires Accounting Officers to establish an effective Internal Audit.

The CAG also discovered that the mission had never submitted to the ministry headquarters any revenue collected during the year, whereas it collected about Sh25,551,348.

The embassy is not supposed to retain any amount from the collection account. However, the remaining balance from the collection was found to be only Sh16,403,527.70 implying that the embassy has spent over nine million shillings to finance different activities. CAG also found that the embassy in Abu Dhabi spent more than Sh78 million without permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

“Audit examination of the accounting of collected revenue from visa, attestation and other miscellaneous collections noted that an amount totaling Sh191,700, the equivalent of Sh78,213,600, were transferred from Revenue Account No. 0157283097 to local vote Account No. 0156086392 all opened in the National Bank of Abu Dhabi for the settlement of various bills and other expenses,” read part of the report The Muscat Oman Embassy is spotted to have not banked more than Sh47million. The audit noted that revenue amounting to OMR 93,250 was collected from visa, attestation and other miscellaneous collections.

“Out of the amount collected, a revenue totalling Sh47,588,845.50 was under banked contrary to Re. No. 78(1) of the Public Finance Regulations, 2001 (Revised 2004)” notes a report

In recommendation, the CAG said: “The decision of the Paymaster General in collaboration with the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation to allow embassies and missions abroad to retain 100 percent of revenue collected has resulted to misappropriation of funds by some sub-warrant holders.”

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY
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