EAC audit reveals peculiar spending

Vanishing act:  Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Vanishing act: an internal audit has revealed gaps in budgetary controls to the tune of $10 million USD.  Photo: Daniel Hayduk

Auditors of the East African Community Secretariat are having a hard time making sense of some of the most peculiar findings unearthed in it’s financial books.

The audit has found that up to $10 million USD has likely been mismanaged in the cash-strapped Arusha-based organization.

“It is unfortunate that our [Council] and management’s responses are not well reflected in the report of the Committee,” says East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) Chair of the Council of Ministers, Abdalla Sadaala.

There are air tickets issued to destinations where no meetings were held and other individuals receiving excessive travel payments — to the tune of 200 nights a year.

The audit has also found that the international air tickets consumed a whopping $3.4 million USD.

Some tickets were issued without authorization, others went to wrong people or to destinations contrary to those listed on the authorization forms, the report found.

The audit also found anomalies in payments and allowances made to staff members, payments to contractors without supporting documents, contracts awarded in meetings without enough members present, the construction project of the EAC headquarters in Arusha, as well as irregular payment of value added tax (VAT.)

“The Committee’s findings pose serious and deep-rooted matters that necessitate serious consideration by the Council. Some of the findings go to the root of the state of affairs of the EAC as a cherished engine of integration,” says Sadaala.

This damning report comes few days after revelation that 95 percent of the EAC supplementary budget for 2014 and 2015 is to be sourced from donors.In other words, out of  the $2,040,520 USD supplementary expenditure for the financial year ending June 30, 2015, only $99,840 will come from the EAC General Reserve Fund.

The new Speaker of the East African Legislative Assembly, Dan Kidega, has called for Council of Ministers to take closer supervision of the Secretariat urging the watchful eye has to come from Arusha and not from the partner states, as is currently the case.

“There is a need to have the Council moved to Arusha to perform their functions as earlier proposed by EALA members and the policies at the EAC need to improve,” Mr Kidega told The EastAfrican newspaper.

EALA member Abubakar Ogle also told The EastAfrican newspaper that the audit findings has just revealed how weak budgetary controls are at the Secretariat.

Ogle argued that the weak budgetary controls could undermining the intentions of the paying member states and donors.

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