Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) vice-chairperson Kamlepo Kalua has said the country needs a carbon dating machine to authenticate documents presented for audit in government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs).
For two months now, PAC has been meeting officials from various MDAs to explain audit queries in the Auditor General’s reports from 2013/14 financial year to 2014/15.
During the meetings, most controlling officers said the documents requested during the audit process were not available, but later provided the documents, a development members of Parliament (MPs) under PAC questioned. The MPs alleged that some documents could be doctored to paint a rosy picture.
Said Kalua: “We need that because it will take us to the source of the documents and the dates the documents were done. People can manipulate the documents like going back to filling stations to backdate documents and submit them for audit. In their [public officers’] responses, it is sometimes clear that they are not genuine.”
“How can documents miss and later be retrieved? Why not being found at that time auditing was taking place? This raises questions on the authenticity. It seems the controlling officers have a WhatsApp group where they discuss how to answer questions on the missing documents whenever PAC summons them,” said Kalua.
In an interview later, Auditor General Stevenson Kamphasa lamented the authenticity of some of the documents which, he said, he rejects when they are brought to his office.
He said the proposed machines are critical to authenticate official documentation.
Said Kamphasa: “We have noted that some controlling officers have missed the documentation by saying they were moved from where they initially put them.
“We are looking forward to having the machines, resources allowing. Not only do we need carbon dating machines, but also machines that can detect the construction industry to say if the things put are matching with bills of quantity. We need good technologies to do this.”