Chief Secretary to the Government Hawa Ndilowe has pleaded with the nation to remain patient as more disclosures of financial mismanagement at Capital Hill come to light.
Ndilowe appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament yesterday to answer queries into the porosity of the government payment software, the Integrated Financial Management Information System (Ifmis) which has led to losses in public funds estimated at K20 billion (US$54 million) by the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU).
The committee had earlier summoned the Chief Secretary but she failed to attend the session due to other engagements, a development that did not please the committee.
“This breakdown in the financial system has accumulated over time, it cannot be sorted out overnight. We have agreed that this looting is evil and will not be tolerated,” Ndilowe said.
She added that care was being taken to avoid misreporting which would result in arrests of people who would not be prosecuted due to lack of strong evidence.
Ndilowe disclosed that the forensic audit which a British firm coordinated by the Auditor General’s office intends to undertake would go back five years and expose all who have abused government funds and this would be submitted to relevant authorities such as Anti-Corruption Bureau for action.
Currently, the Auditor General’s office is in the process of compiling Terms of Reference for the forensic audit team.
Ndilowe also snubbed the committee’s recommendation to remove officials in the Accountant General’s office to pave way for investigations by external independent people.
The committee on Wednesday expressed concern that the Accountant General and his officials were involved in extracting data from Ifmis to hand over to ACB and other bodies.
Said Ndilowe: “The Accountant General is only doing his job, as mandated by the Public Finance Management Act. It is his job to find out what went wrong and take corrective measures. As he finds information, he is feeding that information to the ACB and Auditor General. It would be bad judgement to close his office, then nothing would happen. The ACB is free to investigate the Accountant General and all of us.”