Parliament Faulted As MPs Get Shs 3.4 Billion On Personal Accounts

In a new report, the auditor faults the Parliamentary Commission for depositing close to Shs 3.4bn on personal accounts of its staff to do direct procurements and transact commission business, contrary to the Treasury Accounting Instructions.

According to the June 30, 2014 report, accounting guidelines require all payments to be made by the accounting officer, (clerk to Parliament in this case), directly to the beneficiaries.

“Where this is not convenient, an imprest holder should be appointed by the accounting officer with the approval of the accountant general,” the auditor general’s report reads. “However, it was noted that Shs 3.4bn was aanced to commission staff through their personal bank accounts… such a practice of depositing funds on personal accounts exposes government funds to risk of loss, since the commission does not have any control over such funds deposited on personal accounts.”

In response, the Parliamentary Commission explained that some of its activities such as field trips are “field-based”, which makes it difficult for the commission to apply Treasury Accounting Instructions.

The commission, however, pledged to take steps to pay the funds directly to the beneficiary staff and Members of Parliament, “except aances to committee clerks especially to cater for refreshments and other sundry expenses while on field trips.”

In response, the auditor general wrote in the report: “I aised management to ensure strict adherence with the requirements of the Treasury Accounting Instructions.”

NOT ACCOUNTED FOR

The auditor general also found no accountability for Shs 421.2m.

“Further, vouchers for payments amounting to Shs 421.2m aanced to a director could not be accessed as they had been taken by the IGG for further investigation,” the report said, adding that “as such, I was unable to confirm whether the funds were applied to the intended purposes.” The report says the commission pledged to pay beneficiaries through their bank accounts effective June 2014, to reduce on unaccounted-for funds.

TRAVEL ABROAD

Although the auditor general doesn’t name names, the report found that Shs 20.5m was paid to three commissioners to travel abroad. They didn’t travel, according to the report, and the money was not refunded.

Parliament’s management, according to the report, committed to “recover the funds from the members’ subsequent emoluments.”

The audit also found that during the year under review, the Parliamentary Commission gave hundreds of millions of shillings to several staff members to buy at least two pairs of the official attire.

The report notes that each staffer ended up buying the attire at different prices. In the end, the audit found the method lacking, with different suppliers and without any verification of quality procured.

The audit also found unfairness in the way officers of Parliament allocated funds to beneficiaries who were supposed to acquire the attire during the year under review.

It was noted that some staff were getting more money, some six times more than others, in a year depending on a directorate’s budget. In response, the commission told the auditor general that staff were getting money to buy the attire at least twice a year, and that the policy didn’t require staff to purchase standard uniform, but to buy something decent and commensurate with the status of Parliament.

Source : The Observer

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